Around 80% of the population lives along the Wasatch Front, centered around Salt Lake City, with large parts of the state being uninhabited. This gives Utah big problem in terms of internet service. The US Census Bureau's 2007 figures showed 75% of Utah households have access but there are large areas that have no broadband service. Around 10% still used dial-up from their ISP. The 2009 Speed Matters survey put Utah 43rd with an average download speed of 3.3 mbps, down from 3.8 mbps and 27th place the previous year.
The lack of data on unserved areas prompted the state to apply for federal grants of almost $3 million in August 2009. It was awarded around $2 million in December to map and plan activities. In November 2009, the state recommended 19 projects for stimulus funding of $174 million, with eleven being to build broadband internet services infrastructure to underserved areas. The Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency had three applications totaling $57 million to extend its fiber optic cable network.
As early as 2003, Broadband Central announced it planned to provide affordable high speed internet access to 85% of residents by August of that year. This was based on its leading edge wireless internet access service that could provide comparable speeds to DSL and would enable community-wide wifi hotspots. Despite this, coverage remains centered around Salt Lake City and other urban areas, with large underserved areas.
December 2009 saw internet provider Comcast announce the launch of its 50 mbps product, leaving other internet providers behind. Brigham City announced an experimental model in December 2009 where users can finance the cost of connecting fiber to their homes. Despite the one-off fee being set at $3000, some 1600 users had signed up by the time the plan was approved.
The state is best known for religion, with around 50% of the adult population identifying themselves as Mormons - so they don't need particularly high internet speeds as they shouldn't be downloading as much porn as the rest of the country ;) It is mainly rocky and comprises mountain ranges and deserts. The climate is mostly arid with very hot summers and cold winter temperatures, especially in the mountains.
Petroleum production and refining are major industries, as are mining, cattle ranching, salt production and government services. Tourism is a major contributor, with thriving winter activities. Salt Lake City is the state capital and largest city, followed by West Valley City, Provo and West Jordan.
Cities in Utah likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, West Jordan, Sandy, Orem, Ogden, St. George and Layton. Locations in UT with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.