Whenever criticism is leveled at the fiber-optic system UTOPIA, you find the Utah Taxpayers Association screaming the loudest. Ironically, it is one of the least-qualified to comment on telecommunications policy. It denies that there is a serious telecommunications problem in America, yet for more than a decade we have been slipping in rankings by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for broadband speeds, availability and pricing. Also, U.S. telecommunications regularly get some of the worst rankings in the quarterly American Consumer Satisfaction Index .
The Utah Taxpayers Association is selective about what kinds of "unfair competition" it speaks out on. It makes a lot of noise against municipal networks, but it remains silent about the abuses of the Universal Service Fund by incumbent telephone carriers, the numerous equipment depreciation tax benefits enjoyed by Qwest, and the onerous build-out requirements imposed by cities at the behest of Comcast. None of this is surprising, since Qwest and Comcast are dues-paying members of the association. For all we know, the association is a front doing the dirty work of telecommunication incumbents.
The Utah Taxpayers Association is no friend to the taxpayer, and it is completely unqualified and lacking in credibility in these matters.
While I am not pro-UTOPIA, I also think the Utah Taxpayers Association is not a good group. They are the same ones who pushed through the Jordan School District Split.