BOUNTIFUL, Utah (ABC4) — Officials from Bountiful City and UTOPIA Fiber gathered at Bountiful Park on 400 North and 200 West on Thursday afternoon to break ground on new infrastructure that would bring faster internet to Bountiful residents.
UTOPIA Fiber CEO Roger Timmerman told a gathering of residents that the project is expected to be completed within the next few years.
“Construction projects always have a schedule and then there is reality,” said Timmerman. “We are planning for a two-year buildout, but we are expecting there could be obstacles here and there that could extend up to three years for some areas of the city.”
Bountiful’s new fiber internet will be rolled out gradually, neighborhood by neighborhood, as the network is completed. Some residents will be able to utilize the city’s fiber internet as soon as the end of the year. Others may have to wait until 2026 at the latest.
Once rolled out, residents can expect to pay anywhere between $70 to $250 per month, depending on their connection speed. According to Bountiful City, there will be three tiers of speed available: 250 megabits per second, 1 gigabyte per second, and 10 gigabytes per second. There are no connection fees and no contracts for residents, allowing them to cancel at any time.
The service is completely optional. Bountiful City Mayor Kendalyn Harris said residents can choose or choose not to sign up for Bountiful Fiber when it’s available.
“If residents that have a network in place and have the internet access that they like and they want to stay with their current provider, that’s no problem,” said Harris. “This is an optional service where if people want to switch to Bountiful Fiber, they can.”
Funded through $42 million in bonds, Bountiful City will own the infrastructure being installed throughout the city, while UTOPIA will construct and operate the network. The debt the city is taking on to roll out the new internet is planned to be paid for through subscriber revenue and a sales tax bond, which the city says would not mean an increase in sales tax.
In the future, Bountiful could take over the operation of the network from UTOPIA if it’s “in the best interest of residents.” However, Harris said partnering with UTOPIA made sense for the city.
“We put it out to see what proposals we could get. We heard back from a couple of different options and at the end of the day [UTOPIA] was the company that has the best track record and has the best knowledge of how to get it done in Utah,” said Harris. “We feel confident it’s going to be a great partnership.”
Harris told ABC4 that residents were “overwhelmingly” supportive of UTOPIA during an extensive public feedback period. Throughout the city’s research, residents’ main concern, however, was speed and reliability.
With fiber internet, data is transferred using light and wire-thin fiber-optic cables. This is opposed to thicker copper wires in traditional cables used to transmit data. Bountiful City says fiber optics can handle an immense amount of data and speeds that are becoming increasingly important in cloud computing, telecommuting, and the online world.
“With COVID, we really saw that school, church, work, everyone was doing that online,” said Harris. “There was really a growing need for faster, reliable service. This is a way that our residents will have the service that they need moving into a more global economy.”
Bountiful City residents will be able to stay on top of the rollout of fiber internet through Bountiful City’s website or on mybountifulfiber.com. Residents will be able to begin signing up as soon as the infrastructure in their neighborhood is completed.