UTOPIA gets good response in Centerville with cautions

February 27th, 2012

This article was orginally published in the February 23, 2012 print edition of The Davis County Clippper.

By Jennifrer Wardell
Clipper Staff Writer

CENTERVILLE – Finally, businesses in Centerville are starting to experience UTOPIA’s fiber optic network firsthand.

Though the city was ceremonially connected last Friday by Centerville Mayor Ron Russell, a handful of businesses, homes and official buildings had already been connected into the system.

“We’re now a wired city,” said Russell. “This is something that can take us in to the next century.”

For those people considering whether or not to hook in, however, the question is how well UTOPIA can make that journey. From its earliest days, the network promised faster  uploading and downloading to areas that didn’t have access to high speed Internet.

Though that exclusivity is no longer true – other companies now offer high speed service in Davis County – UTOPIA and their service providers seem to have delivered on the speed that some feel is a discount.

“I’m getting double the bandwidth for less than half the cost,” said Devon Dorrity, who serves as the chief technical officer for Hogan Construction and also runs Digital Business Integration from the same building. The latter company creates smart phone and tablet computer applications for construction companies, which means that Dorrity relies heavily on his Internet.

“Anything that makes it go faster is a good thing,” he said, ading that he goes through the provider Veracity Networks. “We use both our uploading and downloading speeds pretty heavily.”

Centerville City, who got hooked into the system as part of a federal grant, ha also noticed a difference. “It’s been great,” said Centerville City Assistant Manager Blaine Lutz. “We’ve been working on water bonds, so we’ve had a lot of documents floating around. Even a little time really matters.”

Though Centerville uses their own system for the office network (they use UTOPIA, but don’t go through a provider), their phone system also uses the network and goes through the third-party provider PAETEC.

“Just on phones, we’re only paying about a third of what we were,” said Lutz. “Instead of the 20-something lines we were using, we’re able to bring it through on only the one piece of fiber.”

Getting that fiber, though, might be a challenge. Tony Frederico, a Centerville property owner who is considering getting UTOPIA because his current connection is close to capacity, has been attempting to research the possibility since last December.

“I’ve had a difficult time getting information from them,” he said. “Every time I talked to them, I either got a lot of generalities, or so many technical specifics that it went right over my head.”

Though UTOPIA’s Gary Jones said that was because there hadn’t been enough sales staff in place at the time, Frederico added a note of warning to anyone considering signing up.

“I’ve been trying to get as much information as I could, so I talked to some people up in Brigham City,” he said. “It seems like if you have a good provider it’s a good experience, and if you get a bad provider it’s a bad experience.”