Thursday, June 28, 2007

Open Letter to Salt Lake County Mayor: Regarding the Utopia Project and County Acceptance

Lately, I have to admit I have been impressed with Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. While I opposed his election to begin with, he began to make sound choices within the county government that I was rather impressed with. To begin with, he denied the funding from the County to build a soccer stadium in Sandy City that would only benefit Sandy City financially. As I live in West Valley, I didn't see the financial benefits coming directly to my City, and saw it as a way to fund growth within only one aspect of the County. My understanding of the County government is to provide leadership and growth to benefit the whole county, instead of just one city. Well, the State is funding it now, and I'm OK with that. The State will get more funding from it, and it will be less of an impact on the taxpayers overall.

Well, with this understanding that the County government is there to benefit the entire county, I thought I would try contacting Mayor Corroon to see if the UTOPIA project could be expanded to the whole of Salt Lake County, instead of a few cities that ignored the interests of the communication monopolies, er, companies that oppose the measure. Here is the letter that I sent:

Dear Mayor Corroon,

I would first like to say that I have a lot of respect for you. Being one that normally votes with the Conservatives, I was rather impressed with your decisions you have made as mayor, and will probably vote for you again should you run for re-election.

But there is something that has been playing on my mind, and on the mind of many of your constituents within the Salt Lake County: That of affordable, usable network connections.

Now, this may sound like a small and simple issue, but businesses live and breath by the speed and bandwidth of their internet connection. New businesses are just waiting in the wings for the affordable bandwidth to start providing video streaming, network services, and various other services that require high speed, reliable connections.

Many cities, such as West Valley City (my city), has reacted by focusing on bringing their people and businesses the UTOPIA project. I'm sure you are aware of this project, and the arguments for and against it.

My interest is in those cities that have refused to participate in such a ground-breaking move. These cities have received assurances from various companies that communication companies that they will be able to provide the same services with the aging infrastructure that has yet to provide satisfactory service to their customers, let alone businesses. These companies seem to feel that a municipally organized and run infrastructure is a threat to their business model, and (in my opinion), their monopolies.

That is actually the case. No longer will they be able to charge inflated prices based on maintenance of their network. Instead, they are placed within a level playing field by the municipal network, and will have to compete with other companies that can now host their own services. Ultimately, it's a win for consumers.

So my request is that the County consider the Utopia project as the next possible leap to developing the county infrastructure.

I thank you for you time, and look forward to your response!

Jeremy Robb
Concerned Citizen


Now, I haven't had a lot of luck getting local government officials to respond to my emails. West Valley City Councilman Joe Coleman seems to have completely ignored my appeal for cycling lanes and paths in West Valley going East to West (which means I will not be voting for him again anytime soon). But I think I may be able to get a response from Peter Corroon, in that he's a bigger fish, and may have a more vested interest in keeping tabs on bloggers and what they say.

So, for those of you in cities that have refused to address the idea of the Utopia Project being implemented, I'm swinging for you. I think that everyone in the valley should have an internet connection that will allow for better living through communications. The benefits for Education alone would be outstanding. Imagine not having to build any more schools because we have distance education classes allowing kids to remain at home for part of the week. That would be a huge savings to the school districts in and of itself. All because the County did what cities were too afraid to do: wire their citizens up.

2 comments:

Yorokobi said...

I live in one of the municipalities that chose not to embrace UTOPIA: the City of South Salt Lake. I love South Salt Lake, and I am trying to convince my wife that we should buy a house here. My one reservation is the lack of the UTOPIA presence. I currently have a less-than-stellar 7MB DSL connection from Qwest. How can 7MB be less-that-stellar? It doesn't stay up. My DSL connection is constantly down (going with a slower connection has not helped, it isn't a loop length problem). I choose not to use Comcast for my Internet connection for a lot of reasons, not all of which are technology related.

If/when UTOPIA hits the streets of South Salt Lake, I will be among the first to sign up. I would be happy to vote for and/or contribute my time/talents/money to elected officials who support bringing UTOPIA to South Salt Lake (even if they are Republicans :D ).

Jeremy Robb said...

Thanks Yorokobi for your input! I really hope that the county takes it seriously. If you want to contact Mayor Peter Corroon directly, you can do so here:
http://www.slco.org/tools/mail/mail.cfm?PID=22&OID=11100

Hopefully we can all work together to get some relief for those municipalities that are not opting for the UTOPIA project.