Utopia Fiber gets $52.5M in funding to expand its network

Community-owned fiber optic network, Utopia Fiber, received $52.5 million in funding to expand its network. The company provides fiber-to-the-home services to 15 cities and covers 130,000 residences and businesses.

The company plans to use the $52.5 million to expand its coverage area in its existing cities and also add more customers. “What we’re seeing with this latest round of funding is stronger-than-ever demand for high-speed fiber networks,” said Roger Timmerman, UTOPIA Fiber’s executive director.

However, the municipal network, which says it offers speeds up to 10 Gbps to residences and 100 Gbps to businesses, doesn’t actually sell its fiber broadband services. Instead, Utopia works with 14 different ISPs that sell the company’s fiber network to their customers.

Utopia says its network, which operates as an open access network without any throttling or paid prioritization, is the largest publicly owned open access network in the country.

Utopia Fiber is the sister agency to Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA), which actually secured the $52.5 million in funding. The two companies are separate legal entities but they function as one company. UIA said that this is the third round of financing its secured in the last 14 months. The company received $48 million in funding in November 2019 and $13 million in August 2020 for a total of $113 million.

Lewis Young Robertson & Burningham were the financial advisors to UIA for this latest round of funding. KeyBanc Capital Markets was the underwriter and Gilmore & Bell provided the bond and disclosure counsel.