The UTOPIA network is owned by the member cities.
Oh, that's a recipe for disaster... Competing with such a network will be like fighting city hall. It may be great now, but wait until the towns start enacting laws mandating censorship over anything that passes the city-owned network, for example.
Why don't we stick to what happens in reality instead of imagining what might happen. There has never been such a thing proposed. It would be much harder legally for a government to implement such censorship since the government is bound by many laws that a private company is not. Since private companies and the existing government-owned networks are not doing this now, why do you fear it happening?
I don't know about you, but I dread the thought of my Internet service being anything like what the electric utility provides around here.
I don't have to imagine what the internet service on this network would be like because I have been using it for years. It has been much faster, much more reliable and much cheaper than what I was getting from Comcast. The levels of service have continually increased (there is nothing like being told "We kicked you up to 50MB/50MB! Nope, no increase it is still $36 - have a nice day!").
Provider lock-in is why networks should stay the property of the people and not the corporations
Occupy Wall Street much? The choice is not between corporations and "people" (government). The choice is between monopoly (corporate or governmental) and competing corporations. And I'll take the latter over the former any day.
I don't need competing networks in the same way that I don't need competing road systems. The network is like a road system, maintained for the good of all, and both FedEx and UPS are free to use it to compete. There is robust competition on the network because more companies are able to provide services they could never provide before because other companies had been granted the monopoly. Before the network was built we had two monopoly providers (Qwest for phone and Comcast for cable). Service on both were atrocious and prices were high. Since they had monopoly positions there was no incentive to provide quality service.
Back when dial-up internet was the norm there were a lot of local and regional ISPs. If you didn't like your ISP you could switch to a different one. The advent of broadband killed off most of these ISPs since the existing monopoly providers of phone and cable had the only route to the customer. Municipal networks bring back the ability for the small guys to compete with the big guys. It increases competition and diversifies the marketplace. How can someone who sees the value of competition and can see the current state of phone and cable monopolies be against it?