Mapleton, Utah, is one of the most idyllic cities imaginable. Its crime rate is 80% below average, and its council operates with complete transparency. Public meetings are streamed live on YouTube, and details of every meeting appear on the city’s website. That’s also how we know that the council inexplicably approved a pirate IPTV scheme for residents and local businesses, that would unwittingly render itself an illegal subscription reseller set to profit from them all.
From the very beginning and from every possible angle, this story makes almost no sense. But it will, eventually.
By chance, when trying to track down a document a few weeks ago, a .pdf file with ‘IPTV’ in the description suddenly stood out in Google search results. Interesting things can appear by pure luck but, on first view, the document seemed quite mundane.
Sporting a maple leaf in the top left corner and text on the right mentioning a meeting of Mapleton City Council, deletion was mere moments away. But then the word ‘ACTION’ caught the eye, quickly followed by ‘Xtreme High-Definition IPTV streaming’.
It transpires that Mapleton is no regular city. Founded in 1850, settled in 1856, and officially incorporated in 1948, it currently boasts a population of around 11,220 people. According to FBI data, just 16 crimes involving violence or threat of violence were recorded in 2022. No murders, no robberies, and it looks absolutely stunning.
Mapleton City Council Loves Mapleton, Records Everything
As far as data is concerned, Mapleton City Council operates with a high level of transparency and appears to keep immaculate records, many of which are published on its website. The city is currently building an all new fiber network promising speeds of up to 2Gbps but, in the meantime, existing internet connections seem to suffice.
According to another of the city’s highly detailed documents, on November 3rd, 2022, Mapleton City staff met to finalize and propose a rate to deliver a “High-definition IPTV subscription service” for all network users. In common with most documents that mention IPTV on the Mapleton City Website, this one mentions ‘Xtreme High-Definition IPTV’ too.
“Mapleton City Administration asked the Mapleton City Network to investigate offering High-definition IPTV streaming service to residential and business users,” the official request for the Council to approve the ‘Xtreme’ service reads.
“As we research the options, it became clear that a High-definition IPTV subscription service would be the best value and the least expensive to deploy. We as staff agree that a streaming subscription service should be deployed to compete with other communications companies within the Mapleton service area.”
So what type of ‘Xtreme IPTV service’ could give local communications companies a run for their money?
Well, if we shorten ‘Xtreme High-Definition IPTV’ we arrive at a more manageable and recognizable name: Xtreme HD IPTV. If we then place a few channels from the proposed Mapleton IPTV service on the left, and channels from what is actually a well-known pirate IPTV service on the right, we get…
March 15, 2023: D-Day
Even the most permissive view of events thus far defies explanation. Did the search for a cheap but legal service to entertain city residents simply get out of hand? Is there a weird, Utah-specific internet filter that blocks negative news about illegal IPTV services and streaming sites, but allows other stuff through?
The screenshot below, of a post dated March 15, 2023, was taken from the official Instagram account of the City Council. Based on the possibility that there may have been a huge mistake, or perhaps people have been led to believe certain things that simply aren’t true, we’ve chosen to obscure the identities of the people below.
The relevant sections in red clearly show upcoming events. Since when do people running a city knowingly celebrate the upcoming approval of a massive pirate IPTV reselling operation with an announcement on Instagram?
And if that sounds too ridiculous to be true, how about the existence of a detailed cost analysis? The table below not only attempts to calculate the potential size of the local market, but also predicts huge profit margins after weighing in IPTV-specific factors such as concurrent connections.
Yet, despite all of the above, there was still a strong urge to uncover any reason that might go at least some way towards explaining why a local authority might find itself in such a crazy position.
This week, we reached out to two key figures on the council with a request for comment, or even a chat to hear why this isn’t such a great idea. At the time of publication, we still hadn’t heard back.
Desperate for any new theories, here’s an obvious one: Is the city and/or its population in dire financial straights? More recent figures may indicate otherwise but in 2021, the median property value in Mapleton was just over $502,000, while median household income was close to $115,000. Just 3% of residents live below the poverty line, which is actually pretty impressive.
But even if 100% of all residents were unable to make ends meet, wouldn’t it be sensible to discuss something like this a little more quietly?
After spending way too much time trying to answer these and similar questions, a long trawl through the Mapleton City YouTube channel effectively answered them all.
Seeing is Believing
On March 15, 2023, Mapleton City Council unanimously approved the implementation of the Xtreme HD IPTV system. They did so based on 16 minutes of testimony describing how it worked and, more importantly, the absence of legal concerns.
The discussion concerning the Xtreme HD proposition begins around the 32-minute mark but from a personal perspective, it’s a very tough watch. The people who gave the project the green light asked questions which mostly headed in the right direction; the information relied upon to reach that decision had only negative value.
The same can’t be said of the video, which may turn out to be priceless. Without it, no sane person would believe something like this could ever be possible. Despite the project receiving official approval (a unanimous vote is audible in the video), hopefully someone managed to pull the plug before launch, or at least fairly soon after.
The public records referenced in this report are available here