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Davis Journal

Nicole Cottle joins UTOPIA as Director of Government Affairs

Aug 31, 2023 03:27PM ● By Becky Ginos
Nicole Cottle

Nicole Cottle

BOUNTIFUL—Much has been said about UTOPIA Fiber as Bountiful City recently broke ground to begin construction on the city-owned network powered by UTOPIA. Earlier this month, UTOPIA Fiber announced that Bountiful resident Nicole Cottle would join the company as Director of Government Affairs.

“My role is working with city council members, residents and state legislative bodies, even at the federal level on how fiber works in the state,” said Cottle. “I’ll be building relationships to make sure they understand UTOPIA. I’ll be fielding questions anyone has as we move through the building process.”

Cottle has served as attorney, economic development director, chief sustainability officer, director of government relations, general counsel and most recently as West Valley’s assistant city manager.

“West Valley was one of the founding members with UTOPIA,” Cottle said. “All that time I was engaged in the UTOPIA effort. I’ve watched it as it’s grown.”

When UTOPIA started the idea it was slightly ahead of its time, she said. “They built the backbone but it was a heavy lift for the original cities. I credit the board and cities that continued on as we went through hard essential things and demands. It was important for people to see that so we had a path forward there.”

Cottle believes that there should be access for everyone. “Access to education, jobs and healthcare through broadband,” she said. “It’s the great equalizer. My job is to make sure we provide that in a good way for residents and for Utah.”

Some locations such as rural areas are more difficult to serve, she said. “Our fundamental goal is to facilitate service as far and wide as we can so that everyone has the opportunity to access it to make their lives better and improve their quality of life. It’s an essential utility that everyone needs access to.” 

UTOPIA is beautifully managed, said Cottle. “They have specific goals and metrics they set for us. My job is to make sure that every city in the state knows about UTOPIA.”

Cottle said she’s very excited about Bountiful Fiber. “Residents were a significant force behind that. I was most impressed that our elected officials would take the time to dive in and look at the opportunities.”

The level of care and concern on the topic was appreciated as a resident that they were willing to investigate what’s right for Bountiful, she said. “It’s a complicated issue. My experience working from home during the pandemic was that access was a challenge. The opportunity to have fiber here to my home has almost been a relief for me.”

It’s exciting to be in a position where there is so much good news to share, said Cottle. “My arms will be full a little bit as I engage with cities. It’s created some good old fashioned competition. I’d like to get to know people and where they’re coming from, to look them in the eye and meet in the middle on issues.” 

Cottle started her new position July 17. “It’s definitely a transition,” she said. “It’s a new adventure but it’s been wonderful so far.”