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Resource ID: #25966
Source:Salt Lake Tribune
Behind vaunted promises of lightning-speed Internet access and an economic boon for 11 Utah cities lay a basic budgetary fact: The municipal fiber-optic network known as UTOPIA had been in operation for more than 10 years while consistently losing taxpayers millions of dollars annually and never reaching completion. So when a state audit flagged chronic fiscal problems with the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, The Salt Lake Tribune took an in-depth look at all aspects of the troubled project — from the point of view of its sponsoring city governments whose budgets were jeopardized by mounting UTOPIA debts. Wading through thousands of city documents, meeting minutes and technical specs obtained through open-records requests and interviewing dozens of sources, Tribune reporters brought to light a picture of mismanagement and financial crisis even more dire than one painted by state investigators.