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UTOPIA subscriber survey: High-speed internet betters lives

By Genelle Pugmire - | Nov 4, 2022

Courtesy photo

UTOPIA Fiber's construction contractors begin the work of running fiber cables under the street, connecting homes in an Orem cul-de-sac.

With only a few months left before Orem is completely built out with high-speed internet as a member of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, the organization has released data from a survey of broadband subscribers.

As Americans continue to work remotely and increasingly depend on high-speed internet for everyday tasks, the significance of its impact has been measured in the survey.

According to the UTOPIA survey, consumers equate connectivity with a better quality of life. Among respondents, 85.44% said that access to UTOPIA Fiber has improved their quality of life with 95.78% saying that internet speed was either “extremely important” (64.94%) or “very important” (27.7%) with 43% of respondents choosing 1 Gbps or higher.

Approximately 2,500 UTOPIA Fiber subscribers, age 19 and older, were polled in 16 Utah cities. Respondents live in cities as small as Woodland Hills, with a population of 1,500 residents to the second largest city in Utah, West Valley City, which has a population of over 136,000.

According to the “Customer Feedback Survey” results, respondents reported they used the internet in their home for smartphones (97.18%), desktop computers (73.51%), laptops (90.73%), tablets (78.48%, smart TVs (82.38%), along with smart appliances (57.76%), and home security (52.59%).

Forty-four percent of UTOPIA Fiber customers shared that they invested in at least 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps), with 37.14% using at least 250Mbps. The correlation between the need for speed and today’s work-from-home business climate is apparent as the survey reports that 65.47% of people work from home with 69.13% dependent on the onternet for video calls, emails (92.73%), and research (61.54%).

Satellite service fell to 10.19%, from 17.67% in 2021, and cable subscribers accounted for 3.61% of households, down from 3.63% last year while 91.22% of respondents use the Internet for streaming TV or movies, according to the survey.

“Numbers don’t lie. Americans who have access to high-speed Internet have vastly better lives than those who lack connectivity,” said Kimberly McKinley, Deputy Director and Chief Marketing Officer of UTOPIA Fiber.

McKinley notes that, given the choice, consumers will always opt for faster, more reliable fiber broadband for their daily activities. “The big takeaway here is that onternet is life, and either you have it, or you don’t. Consumers also shared that their communities were better places to live now (76.02%) because municipalities made the wise decision to invest in fiber and allow every home and business the same equitable opportunities and services at a very reasonable and fair price,” she said.

Over 90% of respondents also said that the reliability of the UTOPIA Fiber network was either “extremely important” (62.51%) or “very important” (29.19%) to them, and a deciding factor in taking their service over incumbent carriers.

UTOPIA was created by a group of Utah cities and is a community-owned fiber-optic network that uses the Open Access model to promote competition by giving customers the freedom to choose which telecommunication services they want.

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