Now that politicians have gotten involved and are pushing their re-election agendas, country’s first large scale muni-owned FTTP project, UTOPIA might be in jeopardy, reports The Associated Press. SB66, a bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George seeks that, telecommunication projects to be funded only through a revenue-stream bond. That would require a vote of the public and would mean much higher interest rates on the bond.” Of course, given that would be the case for the bill is being supported by the Baby Bells like Qwest, and other telecommunications companies and the business-backed Utah Taxpayers Association. Quite funny actually, given that it is a bill which does not take into account the desires of the citizens, who approved the project.
Paul Morris, executive director of UTOPIA, told the AP that this “is an attempt to kill the project and eliminate competition,” and added, “When it’s actually become real, Qwest has decided that they don’t want us to do it. They don’t want us to have choices on local phone service or extremely fast Internet.” UTOPIA — the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency is a agency backed by 18 cities, where each has pledged a year’s worth of sales tax revenue, according to the report. Whatever the outcome of this bill, it is nice to see Bells and incumbents finally shaking in their boots. Or as they say, more power to the people.