Fifteen years ago, 11 Utah cities joined a collaboration that became the Utah Open Telecommunications Infrastructure Agency. At the time, many residents were skeptical of financial investment and thought it was as important as other utilities.
Today, many of those same residents say they couldn’t do business, work in school, or just live without it.
“When UTOPIA was established in 2005, it was 11 cities’ dream to have a high quality Internet network,” said Bob Knight, spokesperson. “It was created because the other services were not working. Now the Internet is an essential utility.
Knight added: “These 11 cities were ahead of their time.”
By the end of 2022, all of those home towns will be built entirely with UTOPIA infrastructure, according to Knight, and UTOPIA is now the largest open-access Internet network in the country.
To show how much mentalities and needs have changed, UTOPIA conducted a survey of its broadband subscribers. The survey found that an overwhelming number of respondents opt for internet speeds that exceed current and proposed national standards, according to Knight.
The survey results also indicated that consumer desire for streaming services far exceeds satellite TV, and that net neutrality – a model in which a provider does not adjust Internet speed by depending on the type of content viewed – is extremely important to people.
Approximately 2,500 UTOPIA Fiber subscribers, aged 19 to 65, were surveyed in 15 cities in Utah. The sample sizes ranged from towns as small as Woodland Hills with a population of 1,600 to Utah’s second largest city, West Valley City, with a population of over 136,000.
UTOPIA Fiber differs from traditional models of incumbents by building networks based on the open access model, which its proponents say promotes competition by giving customers the freedom to choose the telecommunications services they want.
According to the results of the UTOPIA customer satisfaction survey, 92.44% of respondents use the Internet to stream TV shows or movies, using certain services such as Disney +, YouTube TV and Apple TV + that do not didn’t even exist three years ago. However, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, and Hulu were the most used in terms of subscriber usage. Significantly, satellite service fell to 17.67% and cable to 3.63% in household usage, compared to the 2018 survey results.
“What we are seeing is a sea change in the market,” said Kimberly McKinley, deputy director and chief marketing officer of UTOPIA Fiber, who said consumers, when given the choice, now go for broadband. fiber for their daily activities. “Price was a bit less of an issue, showing people are opting for the speed, service and content that more closely matches their lifestyles and rapidly changing business needs. “
Of those surveyed, 95.78% said internet speed was either “extremely important” (67.59%) or “very important” (28.19%), with 43% of respondents choosing service speeds of 1 gigabit per second or more. UTOPIA Fiber offers internet speeds ranging from 250 megabits per second to 10 gigabits per second, the fastest speeds in the country, according to McKinley.
Over 90% (93.33%) of respondents also stated that the reliability of the UTOPIA Fiber network was either “extremely important” (65.79%) or “very important” (27.54%) to them, and a decisive factor in taking charge of their service. historical carriers.
“Not surprisingly, since consumers tend to be more mobile these days, the survey also indicated that the greatest number of devices accessing the Internet at home were smartphones (97.83%), computers laptops (92.63%) and tablets (80.51%). At home, however, at the top of the device list were smart TVs (77.49%), streaming devices at 72.69%, video game consoles at 56.50% (and) over 40 % were safety devices, another indication of personal choice, ”added Knight.
“All of this data is a new window into changing habits and tastes,” said McKinley, who noted that 63% of those surveyed said they would recommend UTOPIA Fiber to a friend or colleague and that 78 , 11% either strongly agree (55.21%) or agree. (22.90%) with the mention “I am happy that my city has invested in UTOPIA Fiber.
“These are arguably the strongest numbers in the country among any internet company,” she said. “It is interesting to note that most of the 15 cities in which the respondents live are also served by large incumbent suppliers. This kind of customer satisfaction is therefore a real blow to us and a testament to the fact that people want quality and attention. “
The customer satisfaction survey was conducted in 2021. Most respondents were predominantly male (74.54%), of which 63.50% had a bachelor’s / four-year or graduate / professional degree; 51.15% belong to households with an annual income between $ 60,000 and $ 120,000; and 93.93% were owners.
Residents of Orem and Payson, two of the original 11 towns, will see their fiber network terminated in early 2022.