Service restored to hundreds of UTOPIA customers after weekend outage

By Benjamin Wood, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Aug. 4, 2014, 1:40 p.m. MDT

 Employees work in the Network Operations Center at Utopia, a fiber optic company, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Service to roughly 600 InfoWest customers on the UTOPIA fiber-optic network has been restored after an equipment failure caused a two-day outage.

Employees work in the Network Operations Center at Utopia, a fiber optic company, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Service to roughly 600 InfoWest customers on the UTOPIA fiber-optic network has been restored after an equipment failure caused a two-day outage.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

ST. GEORGE — Internet service was restored Sunday evening for roughly 600 UTOPIA customers after a two-day outage.

UTOPIA spokesman Gary Jones said the outage was due to an equipment failure along a line linking St. George's InfoWest Internet service provider and the UTOPIA hub in Salt Lake City.

Service was interrupted between Friday and Sunday evenings, affecting roughly 2 percent of UTOPIA's customers, Jones said.

"We moved (InfoWest's) customers over to an alternative route early on Sunday morning, and by Sunday evening the repair was completed," he said.

Jones said part of the delay in restoring service was due to the rural location of the equipment failure, which occurred between Gunlock, Washington County, and Newcastle, Iron County.

"It took some effort to try to get it diagnosed and (identify) where it was because it was so remote," he said.

Randy Cosby, vice president of InfoWest, said most customers' service was restored by 6:30 p.m. Sunday and that the company is working to address any remaining service issues.

Cosby said some customers may have adjusted or disconnected their wires in an attempt to restore services, resulting in a few homes that remain unconnected.

"We brought extra staff in to proactively work with those people and get them back online," he said. "That’s where our focus is now, getting each one of those back up and operational."

Cosby said the weekend's outage is one of the worst service interruptions InfoWest has seen in its 20 years of doing business.

"What we always try to do is make our service available and reliable," he said. "This is definitely not normal for what we’ve done, and we’re trying to find what we can do to prevent this from ever happening again."

Jones emphasized that the failure occurred on UTOPIA equipment and should not be seen as a reflection of InfoWest's service.

"It was an issue with UTOPIA, and we’ve repaired it," he said.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

1. Taylor
Orem, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

This is the service the City of Orem is forcing on every home in Orem, and forcing everyone to pay for whether he/she wants it or not.The service will cost substantially more than private providers, yet shows itself as less than dependable and without adequate backup plans and service. Some don't want the internet, some want a different provider, and many now depend on internet service to work at home, communicate, have phone service, continue home automation or home security services, for entertainment options, and for emergencies. Of course, other cities who became part of UTOPIA may soon require the same, too.

I hope citizens rally against this boondoggle, another inexcusable tax on working people, to benefit a few, especially tho$e receiving favor$ for forcing the $ervice on city residents. Let's take note and vote out (or impeach) any city council member who votes for the boondoggle. The new provider is a foreign entity.

2. AlexanderTWolf
Lindon, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Taylor’s comment ignores several key facts. First, Orem has already voted not to move forward. Second, the utility fee would result in at least a $20 per month per household savings over anything else available on the market and would provide twice the Internet speed for that fee. Third, the new "provider" is not a foreign company, rather the company looking to invest $300 million in the network is an international investment bank specializing in infrastructure projects. They happen to be headquartered in Australia, but have significant presence in the United States. Utopia deal would be with the US entity. There's been so much misinformation by the Utah taxpayers Association that it's nearly impossible to decipher what's really going on in this deal without much study and public participation. But just buying their propaganda hook line and sinker leads to an appropriate conclusions. This may not be the best deal ever, but it certainly beats the status quo.

3. mcdugall
Murray, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Hey Taylor, I'm paying 35 dollars per month for a symmetrical 100 MB fiber line. How much do you pay? I am unaware of any non UTOPIA partner provider who offers the quality and speed for the price. One thing that the article neglects to address is what is the average yearly uptime for UTOPIA/Infowest customers? Ben could you possibly provide that answer? I've been a UTOPIA/Xmission customer customer for nearly two years and I have only experienced one outage and it was scheduled. Also, the proposed network infrastructure operator is a US corporation who's parent company is based in Australia. Many "US" companies have either "inverted" abroad and he incorporated offshore, some of these companies are household names like Chrysler/Jeep, AON, and soon Walgreens.

4. News enthusiast
Orem, UT,
Aug. 5, 2014

Sorry Taylor,

Yes, Orem is servicing bonds, but the service Orem choose not to subscribe to, would have had a good likelihood that it would pay for some or all of the bond debt.

I've had UTOPIA fiber for 7 years now. In that time, I've had fewer outages than I did in one year with Qwest. And you can't beat the speed.

Misinformation like this spreads wildly, but is not based on fact. And if Orem residents don't like the status quo, think about changing it. But most haven't studied the details enough to know that the status quo, selling the network, or pulling the plug will cost a LOT more than they think.