Thursday, August 19, 2010

Utopia snags $16.2M fed grant to add to network (and jobs)

Utopia, the financially struggling broadband network, is flush with new construction money that will create more than 200 short-term jobs, thanks to a federal grant. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that Utopia, otherwise known as the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, will get $16.2 million in Recovery Act funds to lay high-speed fiber optic lines in eight Wasatch Front cities.

Utopia Executive Director Todd Marriott said the cities of Payson, Orem, Midvale, Murray, West Valley City, Layton, Centerville and Perry have agreed to provide $7.8 million in matching funds to get construction going as soon as possible. Member cities already have pledged more than $500 million over 32 years to back the bond that Utopia sold to finance network construction.

Among the new jobs would be marketing, engineering and installation positions, many of which would be contracted during construction. The Salt Lake Tribune