Monday, January 11, 2016

Utah: Crossroads of the Internet

Much like the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, which was the connection for the nation's rail network in the late 1800's, Utah remains a crossroads for critical infrastructure, like broadband networks. Utah's Department of Transportation (UDOT) gets props for laying thousands of miles of fiber underneath our roadways in close partnership with telecommunications companies. I-15 which runs from Salt Lake City south to St. George and then onto Las Vegas and Southern California is a huge broadband fiber corridor. Currently, 75% of the Utah corridor has fiber and conduit installed with the remaining 25% scheduled in the next 5 years. I-80 has fiber and conduit from Evanston to Salt Lake City. I-70 has the same from SR-6 to Grand Junction. Connecting these transportation and communication corridors to each other and across state borders will further enhance Utah's already robust and redundant high-speed broadband infrastructure, enabling smart economic development and smart roads. Utah is truly at the crossroads with transportation and broadband. I am glad UDOT figured this out early and is a leader ahead of the other states.

Significant kudos also go to the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) for creating the Broadband Outreach Center to help coordinate and communicate across the providers and users throughout the state, as well as the country.

One of the helpful tools they maintain is the Utah Economic Development Map. It allows you to view the services available in any part of the state, including but not limited to broadband. There are also cool and informative maps on UDOT's UPlan Map Center. All of this is part of Utah's comprehensive Broadband Plan.

The many service providers in the state are listed in the graphics to the right, but one of my favorite providers of both business and residential broadband is missing . . . Google Fiber! They provide excellent service in Provo and have announced imminent plans for Salt Lake City. I hope their arms-length stance with government and NIH attitude doesn't slow things down.

Below is a picture of some older communication technology and infrastructure in the state. It is cooler to look at than fiber optic conduit buried in cement.
Francis Peak FGAR (Fixed Ground Antenna Radome) with bike in foreground

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