Bozeman Fiber will Become UTOPIA Fiber’s Second Operational Partnership Outside of Utah and First in Montana
Like All UTOPIA Fiber Projects, Residents and Business Could See Fastest Internet Speeds in the United States and More Reliable Service as Early as 2022
(Houston, TX…..September 27, 2021) At a press conference held at the Broadband Communities Summit today, Roger Timmerman, Executive Director, UTOPIA Fiber and Kimberly McKinley, Deputy Director, UTOPIA Fiber, announced that the agency will be serving as Operational Partner on the Bozeman Fiber Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) project. The strategic alliance between the two entities will be the second operational partnership for UTOPIA Fiber outside of Utah and the agency’s first in Montana. The $65 million project, will bring high-speed fiber service (speeds up to 100 Gbps for business and 10 Gbps for residential) to 22,000 homes and businesses in Bozeman, one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. The funds are completely investor-based and at no risk or cost to taxpayers.
“We’re really excited to play the role of Operational Partner on the Bozeman Fiber Project,” said Timmerman. “Bozeman, which is known as ‘the most livable place’ is about to get a big internet upgrade to meet its rapid growth and evolving community needs. Now, Bozeman will have a future-proof network that can support current and future demand for seamless connectivity and Smart City services,” he added.
Bozeman Fiber currently operates the city’s existing fiber ring, successfully providing connectivity to the City, County, and Bozeman School District facilities. Additionally, the network serves over 200 commercial customers with gigabit-fiber service, at some of the fastest speeds available in the U.S. The existing fiber ring is designed on an Open Access network model, meaning the Bozeman Fiber owns the fiber infrastructure and leases out space to multiple internet service providers who compete for customers based on service and price.
“We’re proud that UTOPIA Fiber has helped to perfect the Open Access model in the United States,” noted McKinley. “Bozeman Fiber saw the opportunity in partnering with us to manage the complex operational needs of running an all-fiber network. Not only will we be creating local jobs, we’ll drive some of the more intricate aspects of day-to-day operations like engineering, construction, marketing, and customer care,” explained McKinley.
“We’re extremely excited to take this step forward in our fiber-to-the-home project,” said Greg Metzger, Executive Director, Bozeman Fiber, prior to the press conference. “We were formed back in 2015 because business and city leaders knew the lack of fiber infrastructure and competition would impede regional economic growth. With this project, we’ll be able to attract and retain more businesses, and create jobs,” said Metzger.
In 2019, UTOPIA Fiber inked an operational partnership with Idaho Falls Fiber in Idaho, which quickly became the largest and most-successful Open Access network in that state. UTOPIA is owned by a consortium of 11 cities and since 2009, has designed, built, financed, and operated over $330 million worth of fiber projects funded completely through subscriber revenue, at no cost to taxpayers.
“We’re getting at least one or two calls each week from cities and towns across the country to gauge whether the UTOPIA Fiber model is right for their community. Whether it’s an urban, suburban, or rural environment, we’ve proven time and time again that UTOPIA Fiber’s flavor of Open Access works and works well. We look forward to proving that again in Bozeman,” said McKinley.
About UTOPIA Fiber
Created by a group of Utah cities, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) is a community-owned fiber-optic network that uses the Open Access model to promote competition by giving customers the freedom to choose which telecommunication services they want. With fiber availability to over 130,000 businesses and residences in over 50 communities, UTOPIA Fiber is the largest—and widely considered the most-successful Open Access network—in the United States, and enjoys the industry’s highest customer satisfaction scores. Since 2009, the agency has successfully designed, built, and operated nearly $330 million worth of fiber projects throughout Utah, all of which have been funded completely through subscriber revenue, at no cost to taxpayers.
About Bozeman Fiber
Bozeman fiber was created in 2015 as the lack of true high-speed broadband was identified by the Bozeman Economic Development director and the Chamber of Commerce as a missing link to the future growth of our existing businesses and innovative new companies, with the accompanying jobs and wages. A group was formed including the City of Bozeman, Gallatin County, the Bozeman School District and business leaders and funded by 8 banks with a CRA- (Community Reinvestment Act) designated loan. This $4,000,000 was used to create the fiber ring connecting anchor tenants (City of Bozeman, Gallatin County and all of the Bozeman School District buildings) and also servicing the Cannery district and downtown Bozeman. Anchor operations began in the fall of 2016, and commercial operations in February 2017.
Harrison Edwards PR
Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber