UTOPIA Fiber Welcomes Three Additional ISPs, Expands to 18 Partner ISPs

Data has long proven that open access fiber networks result in faster, better, and more affordable broadband service in the markets where they operate. Nothing has proven this more consistently than Utah-based UTOPIA Fiber, an inter-local agency collaborative venture that just added three additional partner ISPs.

With the three more independent ISPs joining the network, 18 different providers now offer affordable fiber service to residents in the 21 cities UTOPIA serves.

“After a careful vetting process through an RFP, WiFi Pros (Bountiful City), ETS (Layton City), and Fusion Networks (Salem City) were invited to join the UTOPIA Fiber network, effective May 1, 2024,” the organization said in a recent announcement.

The ISPs that compete over the UTOPIA open access fiber network offer a variety of different speed and pricing options, and its three new partners are no exception. Most of the pricing is dramatically lower than what’s generally been made available in U.S. broadband markets – including well developed major metropolitan markets like New York City.

Bountiful City Hall

UTOPIA’s popular and affordable service options are a major reason why regional telecom monopolies have long tried to derail the effort. What began with early failed lawsuits by Qwest (now Centurylink and Lumen), has more recently evolved into dark money campaigns and fake consumer groups custom-built to spread misinformation about the project.

It hasn’t worked. UTOPIA is profitable, and for the last fifteen years all market launches have been funded entirely by subscriber revenues. And UTOPIA’s latest partners are offering the kinds of speeds and pricing regional monopolies have long refused to deliver.

WiFi Pros offers symmetrical 250 megabit per second (Mbps) service for $38 a month, symmetrical 1 Gbps service for $58 a month; 2.5 gigabit per second (Gbps) service for starting at $68, and 10 Gbps for $208 a month. ETS offers locals 1 Gbps access for $55, while Fusion Networks provides 250 Mbps for $35 and 1 Gbps for $45. For subscribers, all of the pricing listed above does not include a $30 monthly network connection fee.

UTOPIA Chief Marketing Officer Kimberly McKinley confirmed to ISLR that the three new ISPs would be offering these speed and pricing tiers across the entirety of the network footprint.

UTOPIA notes that some veteran partners are now offering unprecedented new pricing and speeds as well.

For example Sumo Fiber is now offering 10 Gbps symmetrical for $120 a month; significantly less than many regional telecom monopolies charge for gigabit (or significantly less) access.


“By collaborating with the communities we serve, UTOPIA swiftly builds this essential infrastructure,” McKinley said. “We then encourage locally-owned ISPs to join and compete within our network, which greatly benefits residents. Since May 1, we’ve already seen a big uptick in demand for the new 2.5 Gbps service and expect to welcome two more ISPs to our residential marketplace soon.”

In 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded that open access policies (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service in numerous locations worldwide.

And in 2020 the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society released a report that came to similar conclusions.

“Experience has shown that state and local governments can experiment with and facilitate pragmatic solutions, such as the implementation of open-access, middle-mile networks that help ensure that everyone can use High-Performance Broadband,” the study found. “Perhaps most importantly, state and local governments are nearby, not thousands of miles away, and they hear the voices of local communities.”

The largest open access municipal broadband network in the United States (passing 220,000 premises), UTOPIA has been bringing competition to underserved and unserved markets since its inception in 2002. It now delivers fiber access to 21 Utah cities and business class service across 50 total cities.