21st Century Infrastructure: How Broadband Internet has Shaped and is Shaping Utah

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Broadband internet has been widely influential on the twenty-first century. It allows professors to teach college-level courses to rural high school students in several schools at the same time, it makes telepsychiatry services possible, and it has made Netflix ubiquitous in homes across the nation. The future of broadband internet will encompass an increasing number of services for residents and businesses. Utah has been leading the country in some areas of the internet and it proliferation:

  • The University of Utah was one node of the ARPAnet in 1969, which is considered to be a predecessor of the internet.
  • Utah charted new ground with its municipal providers, including iProvo, Spanish Fork Community Network, and UTOPIA.
  • The Utah Education and Telehealth Network is a backbone in helping schools – and their surrounding communities – get connected to broadband service.
  • The Utah Department of Transportation has been a big partner in helping internet service providers lay new internet infrastructure.
  • The public-private interplay in internet proliferation is continuing to develop, helping ensure that communities update transportation and internet infrastructure simultaneously.
  • Utah is now home to two Google Fiber cities: Salt Lake City and Provo. This will help raise their stature as “connected” communities as well as increase competitive services from Centurylink, Comcast, and others.
  • US Ignite is looking toward Utah to develop a “metro internet” to increase internet speeds for twenty-first century applications.

Because of these factors, Utah is one of the top states in the nation for broadband availability. Yet, while 95% of Utah households have access to broadband services, only 35% of households actually purchase this level of service. The reason for this disparity and other important broadband-related topics are examined in this report.


Photo Credit: KT Services

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