Broadweave Plans to Replace the Portals for iProvo's Telephony Woes

Broadweave announced their plan to fix the frequent issues with phone service on iProvo, pointing to deficiencies in the portals provided by World Wide Packets. Their message? An ultimatum to Ciena, the new parent company of World Wide Packets, to fix the firmware in 90 days or they'll start replacing the hardware. The reason? They claim the current portals don't properly support SIP.

Given that portals run about $300 a pop and Provo has 10,250 csutomers, that works up to just shy of $3.1M just on new portals. That doesn't even include the cost of labor to replace and troubleshoot. Seems a bit excessive when a $50 terminal adapter would probably fit the bill just as well. After all, I have yet to hear that anyone using Vonage is having issues with telephony over iProvo.

Broadweave seems to have some trouble spending lavishly on features that a company its size simply can't afford, like their supposed carrier-grade phone switches. Also remember that they plan to spend around $1.8M upgrading set-top boxes for MPEG-4 PLUS the costs for a new head-end to support the encoding. Can anyone else smell dot-com style crash-and-burn in the distance?

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8 Responses to Broadweave Plans to Replace the Portals for iProvo's Telephony Woes

  1. suspicious says:

    Jesse — I think you’re starting to get the picture of what Broadweave really is all about. There’s a lot of talk and hand-waving, with little thought given to the financial, technological and logistical realities of what is being pursued.

    Yes, crash and burn is quite likely.

  2. Jarrod says:

    I agree the upgrade doesn’t make sense. But it could just be posturing to force a firmware fix to the existing portals. That would be a smart move.

  3. suspicious says:

    Yes, it could appear to be posturing, but if you know Broadweave, you know they just like to talk big.

  4. Jesse says:

    It would seem to make more sense to try and foster a good working relationship with this vendor and then, if the problem isn’t resolved, go about finding another fix. Dropping ham-fisted threats right off the bat is no way for Broadweave to endear itself to Ciena’s technical staff and then they’re stuck implementing a very over-priced solution.

  5. Jarrod says:

    I believe there has been quite a bit of effort to work with WWP, though certainly not under the Broadweave name. The problems have been known and have had to be worked around for a long time now.

    I agree with you that it seems a waste to completely get rid of the WWP portals. They work well for data, so you can fix the phone problems with a much less expensive box.

    But if their strategy is to see if they can pressure the company to fix the WWP boxes by publicly stating that they will change vendors, then make the real decision if that doesn’t work, that doesn’t seem to me to be a bad idea.

  6. Bradley Ross says:

    I’d be nervous just sticking Vonage type boxes in as a total replacement for phone service in a city. Even though I’m a user of IP telephony myself (via Lingo), I realize it still isn’t as reliable as traditional phone networks. If I didn’t have a cell phone, I wouldn’t relay on Lingo as my primary phone provider.

    When implementing Voice over IP, it is helpful to give voice traffic precedence over data traffic to minimize the latency that can be so frustrating in a phone conversation. If this is part of BroadWeave’s calculation (I have no idea, I’m just speculating), then it sounds like they’re more technically astute than you’re giving them credit for.

  7. Jesse says:

    Bradley: I don’t see, however, that the current portals can’t simply do QoS to prioritize the traffic coming from another TA. It seems like a waste of money to replace the entire portal when a simple TA will do.

    Most of the issues you’ll experience with Vonage and other providers is that the ISPs are not prioritizing VoIP traffic and you are thus subject to the whims of the network. When the ISP prioritizes it, the problems should vanish.

  8. Capt. Video says:

    I was surprised to see the story in the paper say they would replace all portals, not just customers with phone. Why replace a portal that does not use the phone service if the phone is the only problem?

    If a customer upgrades to phone you can replace the portal when you install phone.

    But your question is a good one, why replace the portal if a $50 add on will fix the problem?

    What portal are they using in Traverse Ridge? I heard it was the TelcoSys, which is the portal UTOPIA is using and they don’t use the phone port at all. They are adding external TA’s so they find it does not work with their switch? Perhaps it works great with the Broadweave switch!!! Getting all features?

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