Utah County: The Most Wired Place in America?


OK, maybe not the most wired place in a America, but getting pretty cool.  Utah county is the second largest county by population in Utah and just south of Salt Lake.  Utah county is home to Novell and (formerly) Word Perfect and has a large high-tech base.   This morning I had a meeting with representatives from American Fork City, Spanish Fork City, Provo City, and Utah Valley State College about the Utah Valley Community Network.  These three cities and the college have built or are building fiber out to the homes of their citizens and are starting to offer services, at least on a pilot basis.  The services include basics like Internet service and cable, but also the other things you'd like to see such as telephony and video on demand.  There's more...

About 10 months ago, I met with this same group and talked to them about exchange points and the value I see in lot of exchange points.  I think exchange points are one of the most subtle and least understood aspects of the Internet and one of the keys to building networks that provide real value.  As an aside, exchange points become more valuable as more of the network traffic is P2P---an issue I don't think many have written about.  They took my points to heart and have established an exchange point that includes all these entities as well as Utah County and a few others.  Entities like Brigham Young University and Novell will be able to participate through the first tier members.  They buy Internet service at the exchange point and exchange packets with each other.  

So, for example, if you're a student at UVSC living in Spanish Fork (12 miles away) taking a video course your packets stay local rather than going out onto the Internet and being routed through Denver or San Francisco.  UVSC is also piloting a program where employees living in American Fork, say, can have their campus telephone extension ring at their house, if they choose.  Soon companies like Novell will be able to do the same thing.  As another example, they all share a single cable head end and transfer programming to each other via fiber. 

This is how great things happen: a few peopleof people with some vision and a few resources getting together and creating something cool.  I'm sure I'll be writing more about this as it rolls out and they get more experience.  I'm anxious to see projects like Utopia layer on top of this---that will bring in another large segment of the population.