I have seen many arguments for and against UTOPIA in regards to Internet service and how a city such as Orem should not compete with other broadband Internet Service Providers (ISP), and that we should allow the competitive market to really work this out.
There is one single problem with any of these arguments: UTOPIA is not an Internet Service Provider because it only provides the Physical and Data Link layers therefore it cannot compete with CenturyLink, Comcast, Time Warner, or any other ISP. In other words the argument that Orem city should not compete is a red herring argument that has no weight whatsoever.
Many who read the last paragraph are probably wondering what I am talking about, because obviously fiber optics is equivalent to internet. To answer this question I must discuss Open Systems Interconnection (OSI).
OSI is a seven layer model that describes communication architectures. I will only talk about the bottom three layers and how they relate to UTOPIA.
The first layer is the Physical Layer where raw bits are transmitted. Examples of this layer is twisted pair copper used by CenturyLink, coaxial cable used by Comcast, radio used by cell phone, Satellite or WiFi, and the fiber optic cable used by UTOPIA. Each of these systems are limited by physical laws on how much data may be transmitted it is also known that fiber optics limit is orders of magnitude more than any of the other media. Just remember that this is not the Internet.
The second layer is the Data Link Layer where mutltiple nodes may be connected to each other and the data is transmitted in such a manner that each node shares the Physical Layer in an orderly manner. This is similar to a teacher only allowing students who raise their hand to talk in class. This is necessary for WiFi, cell phones, and UTOPIA to operate. Just remember that this is not the Internet.
The third layer is the Network Layer and this is where the Internet exists along with Plain Old Telephone Service and Cable TV. Though this is where the Internet exists, but UTOPIA does not operate at this layer.
Thus we come back to my original argument that UTOPIA does not compete with Internet Service Providers (ISP), Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), or Cable TV is absolutely correct because each of those services are at the Network Layer where any service provider (including CenturyLink and Comcast) may hook into the UTOPIA Physical and Data Link Layers.
Now that the compete argument is dismissed we can discuss who should provide the Physical and Data Link Layers. Should it be private monopolistic private enterprises or should it be public municipal governments?
- UTOPIA dream a never-ending trial for Utahns (hispanicbusiness.com)
- UTOPIA/Macquarie Deal is a Mistake [The Hub Debate] (utahpoliticohub.com)
- Fiber-Optic Is the Future; It Should Be the Present [The Hub Debate] (utahpoliticohub.com)
- CenturyLink Tries to Derail Australian Funding for Utah’s Utopia – (dslreports.com)
- Comcast turns 50,000 paying customer homes into public hotspots (extremetech.com)
- Reinventing the internet: How wireless networks could become the workhorses of the web (gigaom.com)