Open Access Networks

March 17th, 2021

UTOPIA Fiber is the largest, fastest-growing, and most successful Open Access network in the United States with residential fiber availability in 15 cities throughout Utah and business services in 50. But what does open access mean exactly? We’ll break that down for you in this blog post!

What is Open Access?

An Open Access Network essentially means that the operator of the network and the Internet service providers are two separate entities. This is sometimes referred to as a “wholesale model” or “infrastructure model.” Open Access Networks allow various service provider companies to offer competing services on the same network infrastructure. Open Access systems, as opposed to closed systems, are pro-private sector and pro-competition. UTOPIA Fiber was formed in 2004, and the first Open Access network in the country was started in 2000 in Washington State, you can learn more about their project here.

What does Open Access mean for you?

Because we are an open-access municipal broadband network, UTOPIA Fiber does not provide residential Internet services. Instead, we provide the fiber and infrastructure and allow customers to choose from a variety of service providers on our network. With UTOPIA Fiber, you’re never locked into just one Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can get a fiber optic connection while still choosing the ISP and services you want. This increased competition creates incentives for big telecom companies and the ISPs on our network to keep their prices fair in order to compete for business.

There are currently 14 residential ISPs on our network, you can view them here.

Internet Service Providers

We often compare the relationship we have with our ISPs to an airport. UTOPIA Fiber creates and maintains the infrastructure (airport) and allows private ISPs (airlines such as Delta, American, etc.) to provide their services on our infrastructure. Much like a city will build an airport to allow private entities to offer flights to and from, we provide the network and allow ISPs to offer Internet services on our Active-E network.

Chart, diagram, radar chart

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What are the benefits of Open Access networks?

Open access networks promote competition and ensure residents have high-quality service by giving customers the freedom to switch to a new ISP if their service isn’t top-notch. This gives each ISP a strong incentive to provide better service. Publicly owned, Open Access municipal networks help create an innovative and secure market for telecommunication providers to grow.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to us at communications@utopiafiber.com, we’d love to chat with you about our model and its success. We’ll be posting more about Open Access models in the next few months, so stay tuned for more information! To join your community-owned Open Access network, sign up here.

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To register for an account, click the “My Account” tab at the top of our website.

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