Now surely most Lafayette folks will be going down to festival this afternoon, leaving little time for reflection. But the IEEE Spectrum has a very interesting story on the UTOPIA project in Utah that will repay a little quiet time--the Utopia project presents interesting similarities and contrasts to Lafayette's fiber-optic plans.
The IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) is a the premier organization of engineering and computer specialists. The IEEE is best known to the public for its standards-settings functions; WiFi is defined, for instance, more formally as IEEE standards 802.11x. So the regional fiber-optic broadband network in Utah is naturally of interest to its membership. Additionally, as we've reported, the IEEE has endorsed really big broadband made available to all and recognizes the it's unlikely that the incumbents will provide what's neaded. The whitepaper endorses public and particularly municipal alternatives. They do so with an engineer's notably no-nonsense matter-of-factness that is particuarly refreshing.
So it's no surprise that this body would be interested in the Utopia porject. The tale is longish but richly enough told that readers with different interests can find parts that are particularly useful. I, for instance, was impressed by the story of how the intial dissatifaction in Provo helped touch off a large-scale regional coalition and the technical details of the network's design.
But there's something for everyone: legislative and regional politics, a vision of what big broadband apps might look like, incumbent perfidy, economic models, and the potential for the regional network to expand outside the state. In particular, there's a contrast with Verizon's Fios and the Utopia network which details the practical outcomes of building different kinds of fiber-optic networks. (Surprised to hear that not all fiber-optic networks are created equal? Read this story.)
Worth looking at; a smart story that covers the bases.