Utopia Fiber FAQ
You may have a lot of questions, comments, and concerns regarding the ongoing Utopia project in Syracuse. We are here to help.
- What is Utopia Fiber?
UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) Fiber is a group of 11 Utah cities that joined together in 2004 to build, deploy and operate a fiber to the home (FTTH) network to every business and household within their communities. Using an active Ethernet infrastructure and operating at the wholesale level, they support open access and promote competition in all telecommunications services.
- What are Fiber Optics?
Optic fibers are hair-thin, flexible strands of glass through which light beams can travel. The strand functions as a waveguide, or “light pipe” to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. Fiber can handle basically an infinite amount of speed, allowing high speeds at a low cost.
- When will it be in my area?
Please check out the following info below:
For the latest updates on availability in Syracuse, follow the link below to the UTOPIA website:
Utopia Map - Syracuse
- Who gave the city permission to put something in my yard?
The land developer and municipality who created the building lot allow easements to be created on private property for the laying and maintenance of public utilities. These are called Public Utility Easements (PUE) and are shown (usually as dotted lines) on subdivision plats that are available at the Davis County Recorder’s Office in Farmington. The utilities that commonly have access to these easements are:
- Rocky Mountain Power (Pacificorp).
- Dominion Energy
- Syracuse City
- And now, Utopia through an agreement signed by the Syracuse City Council.
Sometimes specific easements are created for entities such as the North Davis Sewer District but they are usually specifically labeled rather than listed as a Public Utility Easement which is simply shown as a PUE.
- Why is the city working on the house side of the sidewalk?
PUEs are on most private properties in subdivisions that have been created in the past 40 years (almost all of residential Syracuse). These easements often follow all property lines but are most commonly along the front and rear. Common easement widths range between seven and 10 feet. Since private property lines start at the back of sidewalk, most PUEs will provide public utilities access to between to the first seven and 10 feet of a front yard. The sidewalk, parkstrip, and road are all public property, so easements are not necessarily required. Utility work in these areas is also possible but more likely to be filled with larger pipes and conduits like water, sewer, and storm drains. Power, internet, gas, and phone lines tend to take up unused space or placed in private yard space utilizing PUEs. PUEs are why utility boxes are almost always behind the sidewalk.
Also, the City is not performing any of the UTOPIA work. It is all being done by contractors hired and managed by UTOPIA. For questions and concerns about Utopia digging, contact:
- Can I tell the city they can’t come through my yard?
No. Not unless there isn't an easement. It’s UTOPIA’s responsibility to verify that an easement exists. Again, you can check with the Davis County Recorder to verify if there is an easement on your property. Davis County Recorder 61 North Main Street, Farmington, Utah 84025 Office: 801-451-3225
- Is it required for the city to give me notice before working in my yard? How much notice is required before someone enter my yard?
No. No notice is required. It’s their easement which gives them access and the ability to install and maintain their utilities. Aside from nuisance ordinance restrictions, they can dig whenever and however they would like within the easement area. Utility companies are also not responsible to cleanup or repair any damage done while working in an easement. This is a big reason why we require people to get permission from easement holders before building anything in an easement area. Companies usually clean up and repair any impacts they create but they are not legally required to do so. That’s a big reason why the easements exist.
- Are other cities doing this too?
Yes - those in Davis County include Layton, Clearfield, Centerville, and West Point. Check out the website for more information on other cities: https://www.utopiafiber.com/cities/
- Who decided to let Utopia in Syracuse?
All possible internet options have had equal access to the city. Legally the city cannot discriminate between providers by blocking one from the city. Just as cable networks have access to easements, Utopia could have accessed this under the same terms. The significant difference at this time is that Utopia has entered into an agreement with the city where the city has guaranteed a very minimal service level minimizing their risk of the installation costs.
- If I don’t want Utopia, do you need to go through my yard?
The fiber optic lines being laid in yards at this time is the backbone that allows any resident in the city to choose to connect or not. It uses the public right of way to give access to all current and future users. Just like a water pipe or other utility access, it must be there to be accessible to all, and even future users should you choose at a later time to access it.