Insider: Broadweave Selling Re-branded Veracity Service, MSTAR to Follow Suit

Remember how Broadweave constantly hammered on the importance of owning thier own phone switch? Apparently it’s all talk and no walk. An insider has revealed that Broadweave resells phone service from Veracity for all of the customers they acquired from MSTAR on the iProvo network. With Broadweave unable to control all of the SIP session from one end to the other, it sounds like subscribers should be prepared for more of the finger-pointing game when their voice service experiences issues. That’ll be a great selling point for the marketers from Telerus, won’t it?

This same insider has reported that MSTAR plans to follow suit and switch their customers on UTOPIA from using NGT to Veracity. They would join Nuvont in selling white box services from Veracity and make XMission the only current provider to not do so. This will reportedly result in a loss of dialing features, voice mail boxes and even some toll-free numbers. Subscribers had better prepare for the worst.

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29 Responses to Insider: Broadweave Selling Re-branded Veracity Service, MSTAR to Follow Suit

  1. Luke says:

    Maybe someday your inside source will give you accurate information.

  2. suspicious says:

    Luke – what part of this is inaccurate?

    Are the former MStar/iProvo customers not on the Veracity switch already?

    It was apparent to me on the day of the switch that I had been moved to the Veracity switch, not to the Broadweave switch — I immediately inherited the same problems all my Nuvont neighbors had been complaining about, and the same problems reported to UTOPIA by Nuvont customers.

    I’ve spoken with various Broadweave support techs and engineers in trying to solve my problems (who would think my problems could be solved when many other customers with the same have not been fixed?) who also have confirmed I am on the Veracity switch — it only makes sense — it was the easiest and fastest way to make the emergency move successful. How could connectivity between the iProvo POP and Traverse Mountain otherwise been established nearly overnight to begin to carry the voice traffic up there?

    I can appreciate your loyalty to your employer, but the double-talk Jesse notes here, and that which he has documented multiple times since May typifies Broadweave’s mode of operation through many years now.

  3. Jesse says:

    I usually expect rebuttals to be a bit more than a vague and terse statement. This source is pretty reliable and with a second person confirming it here in the comments it seems rather solid. The real question is if this is a permanent or temporary solution for Broadweave’s iProvo customer base. I think users on the network have a right to know.

  4. Jarrod says:

    My understanding (from talking to Veracity employees) is that it’s somewhat different from Nuvont’s reselling of Veracity phone. With Nuvont, your client (the box in your house that connects to your phone) talks directly to Veracity’s switch. Veracity’s hardware is what provides voice mail and “dial tone” and stuff.

    With Broadweave, your client is talking to Broadweave’s switch. Broadweave provides your call features. However, when you make a call that doesn’t connect to another Broadweave customer that call is passed off to Veracity for connection. Veracity is acting as the call connector for Broadweave. Of course, Veracity passes off calls that it can’t connect directly to other companies, too.

    Veracity gets good wholesale rates on call connections because of its CLEC status, and it has apparently won Broadweave’s business because it’s offering this service at better rates than other potential service providers.

    So no, Veracity is not providing the same white box SIP services to Broadweave that Nuvont uses, but yes, if you make a call via Broadweave it will usually end up going through Veracity, too.

    At least, that’s how I understand it.

    I would think that if MStar is going to switch to Veracity service it would be similar to Nuvont rather than Broadweave, unless MStar bought a switch recently. However, if I were Veracity I’d be careful to make sure MStar doesn’t get too far behind on its bill. They don’t exactly have the best credit history. It’s better to not have a customer if the customer makes you lose money.

  5. Jesse says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Jarrod. This begs the question, though: what good is a switch if you just use it to pass traffic to another provider instead of being more-or-less directly connected to the PSTN? Seems like overkill. It also doesn’t make sense considering that Broadweave is also a registered CLEC.

  6. Jarrod says:

    I didn’t think Broadweave was a CLEC. I thought they made that comment to a reporter once in the context of merging with Veracity. As a merged company they were a CLEC, but not without merging. I could be wrong, though.

    From what I understand (I’m not a phone guy), these switches provide 1) line features and 2) switching. Switching is a always a matter of either connecting the call internally or connecting to another company. If I use my Qwest home phone to call my wife’s Verizon cell phone Qwest will hand off the switching of the call to at least one other company (Verizon), maybe more. Switching strikes me as relatively simple. Line features are things like call waiting, caller id, three way calling, voice mail, etc.

    With Nuvont, Nuvont can always point its finger at Veracity, because Veracity provides the entire phone service. With Broadweave, it may be Veracity’s fault if something goes wrong in routing a call, but otherwise it’s probably Broadweave’s fault.

    Again, I’m pretty sure this is right. I’m not a phone guy, just a curious techie who asks a lot of questions.

  7. Jesse says:

    According to the PSC, Broadweave has a CLEC arrangement with Qwest. So why would Veracity be involved in their current capacity?

  8. Jarrod says:

    The reason I’ve heard is pricing. I guess the CLEC thing doesn’t factor in. It was my assumption that this is why Veracity could provide better prices. There must be some other reason for the price advantage. Like I said, not a phone guy.

  9. Capt. Video says:

    Could this have something to do with the WWP portals not doing SIP and the Broadweave switch not being interoped with the WWP portal?

    Remember when Broadweave said they would change all the portals out if WWP did not do SIP in 90 days?

    Veracity has considerable phone knowledge and experience. Buying service from them seems smart. I understood even XMission was planning to buy services from Veracity before they were planning to merge with Broadweave?

    We should support service providers buying services from other service providers rather than outside 3rd parties, assuming their fellow service provider can provide a high level of service.

    The best order should be:
    1: Provide the service yourself when it’s cost effective to do so.
    2: Buy the service from another UTOPIA service provider if they can provide the service in a good manner and at a good price.
    3: Buy from an unrelated 3rd party.

    Helping make UTOPIA service providers strong is a good thing for everyone.

  10. Harold Bills says:

    All WWP portals are capable of providing SIP based telephony. It is very doubtful that any Provo customer goes anywhere near the Broadweave switch since it is not compatible with WWP portals and there is no physical connectivity except for the regular Internet. Broadweave has not even started the ridiculous effort to change out the WWP portals. Just hanging IADs from the existing portals would be far cheaper and allow them flexibility and compatibility for numerous scenarios. Based on that they will of course try to change them out. I will bet that a Veracity, Nuvont, or Broadweave call follows exactly the same path to the Veracity switch currently in Provo.

  11. Curious says:

    My understanding is that Mstar is providing Video and Data services to iProvo customers. That means that Broadweave is nothing more than a front for Veracity and Mstar services. Provo got a great deal didn’t they? They sold their fiber network to a company that is completely dependent on other companies. Great job Mayor Billings and City Council.

  12. Jesse says:

    That’s not exactly accurate. Broadweave bought out the customers and equipment on the network, so they also bought any problems caused by that equipment. Mstar, so far as I know, doesn’t provide any service on iProvo either directly or as a wholesaler.

  13. Jesse says:

    After a conversation with an insider, I stand corrected. Apparently Broadweave currently buys their video services from Mstar and may still be buying data services from them as well.

  14. Jarrod says:

    I was thinking that Broadweave bought the video headend from Provo, so why would they be buying from MStar, but I guess they still have to set up agreements with content providers to be able to broadcast the content. They are probably providing content using MStar’s content contracts, but still using Provo’s (now Broadweave’s) hardware.

  15. Jesse says:

    Jarrod: That was the explanation I got for it as well. I’ve gathered that it is meant to be a temporary measure until Broadweave secures its own content licenses.

  16. Jesse says:

    As an add-on, I find it hard to believe that Broadweave can be turning a profit when there are so many layers of people to be paid. I’m sure Mstar and Veracity aren’t selling to Broadweave at a price point that would allow them to undercut their own offerings.

    Nobody should be surprised if Broadweave hasn’t gotten their own content licenses yet. (I say if because I don’t know if that’s entirely why they buy their service from Mstar. It could be that they had some missing pieces and didn’t want to change the channel line-up with all of the red tape that entails.) After all, they haven’t been able to sort out something as simple as a business license in Washington City (which was denied once more); I can only imagine getting content licenses is significantly more difficult.

  17. Harold Bills says:

    The only thing Mstar ever did for video was own content contracts from the content providers, so they have apparently allowed Broadweave to take advantage of those contracts temporarily.
    Broadweave has some big missing pieces they need to fill before before they can legally deliver video where they have customers. The need to have a franchise with each city for example. In Washington city, they can’t even get a business license. Nevermind that they now operate a video headend with no technical expertise in the area. How long will it be before this breaks down?

  18. Capt. Video says:

    Broadweave actually got a very qualified headend tech when they hired the iProvo headend tech.

    This will not change what you said about getting content contracts as that is not what a headend tech does, but they do now have one man with considerable technical expertise in a video headend.

    To show how deep this Broadweave video expertise goes (or does not go), last week when Animal Planet and Travel Channel went out on Wednesday, they remained out until Sat.

    I guess a single man on vacation can really hurt you?

    In addition to owning content licenses, Mstar was THE DRIVING FORCE behind iProvo adding new channels. This can be seen by the fact that they carried about 20 channels (including a number of HDTV channels) not licensed or carried by Provo City.

    They were pushing to launch even more HD channels and expand the VOD offering to include HD VOD movies and VOD from a large number of cable channels (HBO, Starz, History, Discovery, etc. etc.) which was not focused on or welcomed with open arms by Provo.

  19. Jarrod says:

    It does seem like there could be a lot of improvement in the VOD offerings. I would expect that we’ll have to wait a while before Broadweave starts working on those types of improvements, though.

  20. Capt. Video says:

    I would not want to rush them, but it seems we have already waited “a while”. It’s been something like 75 days since Broadweave has been running iProvo and in that time no new movies or other programs have been added to the VOD library. Remember, this was a feature that was working before they took over.

    In fact, a VOD library that may have had as many as 600 choices when Broadweave took over, now has only 53. There are now only 38 movies to choose from. How many of us have more movies in our home DVD library?

  21. Jesse says:

    I may not be an expert, but VoD and HD are key parts of any video service offering. Without them, you can bet customers will flock to Comcast, Dish and DirecTV.

  22. Capt. Video says:

    I guess I should also mention that even the few VOD movies they have available cannot actually be used. For about the past 3 days or so the Broadweave VOD has just not worked.

    If you rent something it will not play.

    Right now the Broadweave VOD is completely broken.

  23. FGF says:

    Acquiring content distribution rights for IPTV is significantly different than for RF distribution. The hurdles are higher as content owners continue to evaluate the industry. This is especially true with VoD content. Going forward video service providers face a challange on very high bandwidth networks with the proliferation of free content available on a customers data connection.

  24. Capt. Video says:

    Just to show how the VOD business works behind the scenes.

    I just received an email that the deadline is here to order Dec. VOD bill stuffers. In Dec. the movies available on VOD will include,
    The Dark Knight $513M (Box Office)
    Hancock $227M
    Kung Fu Panda $214M
    Get Smart $128M
    Tropic Thunder $98M
    So promotions are planned months in advance. The Dark Knight (Batman) was huge at the box office and will be huge on VOD.

    That would give Broadweave about 75 days to fix the VOD (before Dec.). Fixing the VOD will not be hard once Broadweave realizes it’s something they do (offer VOD).

    Given that millions of customers now receive IPTV and that dozens and dozens of companies have IPTV licenses it’s not really as hard as it was when iProvo and UTOPIA started.

    Now getting IPTV licenses to deliver VOD content over the internet for the data network….that’s difficult to impossible. But that’s not what Broadweave needs. They deliver video over a closed fiber network that does not touch the internet. They are actually taking over iProvo existing licenses and that is very simple.

    Remember that the video providers ARE the high bandwidth network providers for the most part. Network bandwidth caps will control on line video viewing to some degree.

  25. Brandon Hughes says:

    Why would I purchase those movies on VOD for $4 when I can walk across the street to the Redbox and get them for $1? VOD needs to offer things I can’t get on video otherwise, like local sports, city events. Video of the closed-door meetings between Provo and Broadweave would be good to watch. I’d even pay to see that. LOL

  26. Jesse says:

    VOD is Redbox for the lazy (especially the lazy that don’t return it by 7PM and pay for an extra day or two). Given that it makes a lot of money for incumbent providers, there must be something to it. 😉

    I agree that having exclusive local content is a key part of any VOD offering. Comcast does a great job at offering up things like General Conference, high school sports, local pet adoptions and so forth.

  27. Harold Bills says:

    The iProvo engineers got a lot disrespect, but they knew how to keep things like VOD and the program guide working. Yea Broadweave, you have all the answers…

  28. Jesse says:

    As more time goes by, it becomes obvious that the problems experienced on iProvo are largely the fault of poor management decisions. I don’t think there are many in the know who would lay the blame at the foot of the grunts.

  29. Capt. Video says:

    Perhaps you need to ask the people that spend billions of dollars a year on VOD why they don’t use Redbox?

    Perhaps it the very limited selection in Redbox? Or the lack of Adult movies? Or just the willingness to pay a few dollars more to not have to make two trips to the Redbox (pick-up and return) or the extra dollars paid if a movie is not returned the following day?

    Whatever the reason, VOD is a multi billion dollar business.

    I think having no VOD is better than having a broken VOD system. The broken system says something about your ability (or lack thereof) as a company.

    What does it say if you go 3 months without a new movie and over a week without the system working at all?

    Whatever it says, that is the message Broadweave is sending to it’s customers.

    …and yes, the iProvo engineers worked very hard to keep the guide and VOD running.

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