Sunday, April 20, 2008

$1,000+ hookup fee for UTOPIA? That's insane!

I've largely been a proponent of the UTOPIA concept, and was optimistic that it might become available in my new home, but this quote from this morning's Trib is enough to make anyone slam on the brakes:

Utopia's board of directors is developing a new business model it hopes finally will place the struggling, municipally owned network onto a solid financial footing. As part of that plan, it wants to require each new customer to pay a hefty fee upfront.

"We've identified a range of around $1,000, but eventually it could be two to three times that amount," said Utopia's chairman Alex Jensen.

I'm sorry; did I read that correctly? Apparently so:
Utopia's board is negotiating with several banks about providing financing for the connection fee so that customers who don't want to pay upfront can make payments over time. "If that [financing] is what customers want, it would be like going down to RC Willey and buying a piece of furniture," said Jensen, the Layton city manager.
Financing a hookup fee? Up to $3,000 just to be allowed to pay a monthly internet fee? Right. Maybe if it's superfast, makes breakfast every morning, and picks up my dry cleaning. Holy smokes.

3 comments:

rmwarnick said...

The Salt Lake Tribune has always hated UTOPIA, and they must have been delighted to give us the news that it's finished.

UTOPIA, the article says, is finally going to start advertising. Too bad all their ads will be trying to make us get over the shock of that $1,000 to $3,000 connect fee!

Jesse Harris said...

They've got no other choice since cities are still demanding a free lunch. Without public financing to finish construction of the network, it leaves precious few options on the table. As it is, the project just breaks even on operating costs. I was hopeful that they would use increased subscription rates and revenues to build as much of the network as possible during the next two years while bond payments are stayed. That makes much more sense than the hookup fees.

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