For almost 20 years, the Utah Taxpayers Association has sounded the warning bell on the disastrous consequences of government run broadband networks here in Utah. Even the best run state in the nation has its share of blunders. The Association found reason to stand and cheer after reading the latest op-ed from our very own Congressman John Curtis (R- CD3).
Published June 13, 2021 on Fox News, and titled “Biden’s broadband plan – government run networks don’t work. Here’s what we learned in Utah”, his op-ed speaks the truth on what he experienced as Mayor of Provo while witnessing the $39 million implosion known as iProvo. Ultimately, the entire network was sold to Google Fiber for the sum of $1.
As he explains: “You read that right. We sold it for $1 because that’s how little the government-owned network was worth. Its technology was out of date and its infrastructure was unworkable. We had to come to terms with the fact that we had a decade-old network and just like a computer that’s a decade old it was near worthless. Technology advances so quickly that what is cutting edge today may be obsolete in just a few months.”
iProvo is not the only Utah municipal fiber disaster. With almost two decades of a track record, UTOPIA continues to balloon its negative net worth to more than negative $280 million as of its latest financial report in 2020. Thankfully, taxpayers in Kaysville wisely turned away from a government funded broadband network last fall, at the urging of the Association.
Congressman Curtis explains the serious flaws that are prevalent in government owned networks: taxpayers do not sign up for the risk involved in these ventures, and government should not be stepping out of its core competency and into the business of business – that should be left to the private sector.
We urge all policymakers and elected officials to read the op-ed and heed his hands-on, sage advice. While the pandemic has highlighted the importance of providing a reliable internet connection, turning to the government to achieve that goal is not only unwise, it doubles down on disastrous bets that have already been lost on the backs of taxpayers.