Mstar Customers on iProvo Lose Phone Service Because Mstar Didn't Pay Their Bills

In an unbelievable move, around 200 Mstar customers on iProvo have been without phone service since Friday after New Global Telecom, the VoIP provider that Mstar uses, cut them off. NGT claims that Mstar is behind on their payments for iProvo customers and that UTOPIA customers are not affected. John Hansen, Mstar's interim president, says the claims of non-payment are bunk and blames the problem on iProvo customer service staff.

Broadweave managed to do an emergency transition of most of the affected customers to their network but it is still struggling with the last 200 or so. Phone customers are still able to receive calls and place 911 calls, according to NGT. Customer experiences have been mixed with some reports that the customer service lines are busy and others saying that they've been able to get through. For some odd reason, Broadweave's PR consultant has stated that they're waiting for the affected customers to call them to get the issue sorted out instead of aggressively trying to contact those customers.

While this problem isn't Broadweave's creation, it's their baby now. Mstar doesn't have much incentive to make sure the transition is a smooth one and can easily put egg on Broadweave's face by dropping a problem in their lap that they don't quickly resolve. It makes you wonder how many customers will unbundle services even if it costs more money to do so.

NGT also claimed in their statements that Mstar would be selling off the phone customers on UTOPIA to another provider. Obviously, UTOPIA can't comment one way or the other and there's nothing from Mstar to confirm or deny that claim. Any insiders want to clarify this in the comments?

(Read more from the Daily Herald. h/t: Capt. Video and Thomas Perry for sending along the stories.)

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34 Responses to Mstar Customers on iProvo Lose Phone Service Because Mstar Didn't Pay Their Bills

  1. I hate to be too much of a proponent of Broadweave, but from an outsiders perspective this was impressive. Thank goodness Broadweave was willing to step up and take those customers. Had the number port not been so aggressive and successful all 1200-1400 mstar/iprovo customers would have lost their number and would be required to get a brand new number. It looks like Broadweave bailed out Mstar.

    The big question here is not that whether Broadweave will be able to manage those customers. I think they will do just fine considering they just transitioned and ported (not an easy process) 1300 customers with no time to prepare and pulled it off with only minor problems.

    THE BIG QUESTION is mstar wasn’t paying NGT, customers were paying mstar. Those poor customers of mstar were about to get their entire service shut off with zero warning or zero knowledge that their “trusted” provider was blowing their cash. Good luck Utopia customers, better not fall in love with your telephone number.

    Good job Broadweave for being willing to take a potentially horrible situation, speed up their transition plans for those voice customers, and do it with such a small amount of preparation time. This is starting to look very promising for the citizens of Provo. This is a provider who obviously wants to serve us.

    Anyone who will mock the tireless efforts that has gone into forced early transition needs to step back and look at the bigger picture of how Broadweave just saved mstars behind.

  2. Jesse says:

    I certainly agree that what they did was impressive given the short notice and limited resources they have. Porting land lines usually takes a couple of weeks and to do it overnight is unheard of.

  3. wishtobe anon says:

    After hearing from Mstar’s executives, I know of two things that have happened. First, that this unplanned transfer happened as a threat to disconnect that came from NGT (a result of Mstar being behind on payments….) so NGT didn’t actually disconnect but they said that they would, so after Mstar and Broadweave talked about they decided to do the transfer. Good move for Broadweave for trying to keep phone service for Iprovo. The second part is that Mstar is switching their phone service provider from NGT to Alianza, part of the Canopy Venture group. Which also would confirm a relationship already in place, Mstar will be bought by Canopy Ventures and Alianza would be their phone service provider and Center 7 is already their backend internet service provider and has been for some time…a better business move by Mstar. Anyways, I may add more later…granted this is all undisclosed information….you didn’t hear it from me…lol

  4. …So what your saying is that NGT didn’t get any payment from MSTAR so they were going to shut off the users, or threatened it, according to their own time frame. If they would have shut off the users the numbers could have potentially be lost into phone number oblivion. Meaning people who have had their phone number for 30 years would have lost it because MSTAR couldnt pay NGT.

    I am seeing that Broadweave “being a third party” in MSTAR’s and NGT’s financial dispute made the right choice to save the Provo citizens from losing their phone numbers based on a threat that they could not confirm nor deny.

    Now it seems that MSTAR is moving to another provider that surely they will decide to pay. Leave NGT holding the bag on $$$$ awesome business tactics.

    Isn’t this why people who rent out places to people who skip from rent home to rent home have insurance and legal contracts and guns.

  5. wishtobe anon says:

    As far as Mstar’s business model goes, they certainly are setting up for a better, more efficient service provider. The sale of Mstar to Canopy Venture’s is good because then their backend internet provider (Center 7) will now be a sister company as well as their phone service provider Alianza. I know that Mstar’s relationship with NGT, albeit strained, will be satisfied in the end. However, bottom line is, being in the business of telecommunications you can expect to be in the whole and losing money like you’ve got no tomorrow for quite some time…like 7-10 years, before you finally have enough customer base and money coming in paying off the backend. It is normal for a company like Mstar to change hands 2-4 times before they actually take off like Qwest or Comcast or something…thats what they aspire to. What I’m getting at is that with new funding and a little better business relationship their is definately more hope for Utopia’s biggest service provider, Mstar. Hopefully the consumer’s hope and relationship isn’t beyond repair.

  6. iLikediProvo says:

    I guess I’m glad I stuck with Nuvont. However, Nuvont’s web site ( has been down for a couple of days now. I wonder if they’re about to shut down operations also.

  7. Jesse says:

    It sounds like Mstar is definitely putting itself in a better position, being able to use sister companies on the back end to improve cash flow. That said, I’m in agreement that leaving unpaid bills in its wake isn’t going to endear it to many.

    I also noticed that Nuvont’s website has been down. Something that has never been clear to me is if Broadweave’s purchase of Veracity would encompass Nuvont or not. We all know they were a spin-off from Veracity, but it’s not entirely clear if they were a totally separate company or a wholly-owned subsidiary.

  8. Mr Anon says:

    MStar’s business ethics continue to baffle me. Hopefully this MStar acquisition cleans out the dirty laundry (looks like it already has somewhat) so they can clean their act up.

    You simply cannot go around “sticking it to” your business partners as MStar has been doing for years, and then expect to be able to provide your customers with excellent service. It simply cannot be done.

    “Simply the Bestest”

  9. Seems as though MSTAR has some legal problems with customer trying to dial outbound for emergency and getting re-routed to another number.

    Besides not fulfilling about a million to Provo city, hundreds of thousands to NGT, and over 700K to Center 7 for past bills, I find it difficult to see how anyone would want to invest in a company that does not take business relationship seriously. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. You take my service, I give you money.

    In MSTARs case it seems as though they approved more of the “you scratch my back and I’ll scr …. um…a little more to the left…ok..down a little…ok, ok to the left..OHH THATS IT, thanks!” See ya later!

  10. Mr Anon says:

    HAHAHAHA You hit the nail right on the head.

  11. Jesse says:

    As I thought about their unpaid bills, it occurred to me that Mstar may be doing it for leverage.

    For instance, note that Mstar dropped their objections to the sale of iProvo to Broadweave after the two companies came to an agreement. Maybe that agreement was that Broadweave would reduce or forgive the past due amounts hanging over Mstar’s head in exchange for getting their objections off the table. It’s possible the company made a similar deal with Center 7 to get the debt forgiven in exchange for a controlling stake in the company. In the case of NGT, it might be that they weren’t concerned because they thought that Canopy would take care of it later.

    Naturally, I’m just shooting in the dark based on my best guesses, but they seem logical enough.

  12. Jarrod says:


    Broadweave’s purchase of Veracity doesn’t encompass Nuvont. They are separate companies. Broadweave has to reach a separate agreement with Nuvont. I’m not entirely clear on how far this process has gone.

    On the other hand, Nuvont’s customers are all serviced through either iProvo (Internet, video) or Veracity (phone). This means that while Broadweave has to make a separate deal to acquire Nuvont’s customers, there’s no need to transition the customer’s services to acquire them. So the acquisition should be much smoother for Nuvont’s customers than for MStar’s.

  13. iLikediProvo says:

    Can anyone make sense of their pricing? The “A La Carte” section is confusing. It seems that they have some base service options, and additional features you can add on top, but they are all listed together and don’t specify which is which.

    My reading of the price list indicates that I’ll have to pay $36/month more for Internet + Phone than what I pay Nuvont today.

  14. Jesse says:

    Not only is it confusing, but they apparently forgot that they provide service to residents of Traverse Mountain and Sienna Hills. There’s nothing to indicate if these new packages replace the existing plans in those subdivisions and what the equivalent packages are for what they’re already getting. Kinda sloppy, you know?

  15. HBills says:

    Lets not forget who picked Homenet, Mstar, AEG, and others. Of course this is Kevin Garlick, chief strategy achitect of the business disaster called iProvo. I hear he is moving back to Energy Director after his debacle has put the city into $40 million debt and $17 million lost. What next for Mr. Garlick. Is he going to fix the Power department now?

  16. Wishtobe Anonymous says:

    In response to comment made by Jesse..(number 11)

    Mstar made an agreement when they sold the customer base to Broadweave that the debt that Mstar had with Iprovo(Broadweave) would be forgiven. I do know this. That is why Mstar calmed down about all the what-have-you they had against the sale.

    As for the relation with NGT, I’m not so sure, but I do know there is a payment arrangment with them. I’m not sure how they are going to deal with Center 7, on the other hand, just because the relationship is going from just a regular business relationship to being sister companies, owned, or rather invested into by the same Canopy Venture group. I don’t know how Center 7 and NGT are going to be handled exactly is what comes down to, but i knew what happened to Broadweave anyway…lol

  17. Mr Anon says:

    No way did MStar not pay their bills in order to leverage anything on the iprovo issues. There have been news articles for months that MStar has been behind on their bills to iprovo (and UTOPIA). Them being behind on bills was just MStar being behind on bills, its timing didnt have anything to do with the iprovo sale.

    Bottom line is that MStar is substantially in debt, and is not current on any of their major business partners bills. Broadweave must have dismissed some or all of the debt in order for MStar to “Settle down” over the transfer to them. Either that or they just came to the realization that they didnt have any leverage to use due to their past due bills.

    It baffles me that MStar can be so far behind on bills, and then think they deserve any sort of leverage when deals like this go down. You can’t jerk business partners around, and then when the time comes expect them to be buddy buddy with you. It just doesnt work.

  18. Jesse says:

    It’s not inconceivable that Mstar found out about Broadweave’s plans to buy the network some time ago and saw the writing on the wall. (Given the number of insider leaks around here, I’m sure that the plans to buy the network snuck out within weeks). Note that Mstar didn’t catch up on their debt at all since the news broke in January.

    They probably knew that in a takeover situation they’d be getting a mere pittance for their customer list, probably a lot less than what it was really worth. It was likely a better deal for them to run a debt to the city and exchange their customer list for satisfaction of the debt, a debt that might not have been feasible to collect anyway. That could all be conspiracy theory crazy talk, but the logic is there.

    Unless an insider can say for sure one way or the other, it’s still all just conjecture.

  19. I agree with mr anon…..Dont try to give a poorly run company any credit that they were trying to position themselves for a sale. You dont position yourself by neglecting your fiduciary duty that you have to your business partners. Not paying your bills is right up there with …umm… lets see….how about….polygamy (ya i am stretching, but you get the point).

    If they did know about it and purposely didn’t pay their bills it is even more reason to take them out of the gene pool.

    Quite frankly Jesse you don’t have any “logic” to your comment, you have crazy talk trying to justify poor business decisions and even poorer financial decisions. The company is failing, POINT BLANK. You cant pretty that up by saying they were sneaky. Anyone who invests in the company is making a decision to flush their cash down the proverbial tank.

  20. Mr Anon says:

    Lets assume that MStar was substantially in debt to iprovo to gain some financial leverage when iprovo was sold.

    That does not explain the substantial debt currently owed to Center7, UTOPIA, NGT, or their previous VOIP and backbone providers.

    MStar was in debt well before the announcement of an iprovo sell off, and they will continue to be in debt well after the dust has settled.

  21. sweet pea says:

    Polygamy was stretching it a lot I think lol…it doesn’t relate at all…that’s simply a belief that some people live by. I could honestly care less that they practice their lives that way, it’s not forced upon me. Not paying your bills is just flat out wrong. I know nothing about this topic so I won’t try to place any kind of “logic” to my comment and I’ll simply leave an opinion. Mstar hasn’t made the best of decisions…that’s obvious, but for those of your that leave cruel assumptions towards the company, I hope you realize that their bad decisions were made from upper management and not by EVERYONE there. I have relations with some people that work there, and for what it’s worth they work their butts off taking calls from angry customers which may be yourselves even. They are people just like you that are trying to make a living and have no say as to what goes on with the company as a whole. There are good people there…people that are TRYING to serve you regardless of whether or not you think they are. There is a scarce number of people there that are trying take responsibility of MANY people that are still in their service and then all the other people that were in their service that are trying to be transfered to Broadweave. The people should’ve been notified that their numbers were being transfered over…and if they weren’t then I’m sorry. Big whoop-de-doo and there’s nothing that can be done about it now. Don’t downsize the people at Mstar just because their boss made poor decisions. They’re the ones that have to sit at work and get your complaints all day long when it wasn’t even their fault, but they take the crap anyways. I don’t care what any of you think of my opinion, so there doesn’t need to be any response to it, but try to apply common respect for other people in your lives…it would help…

  22. Jesse says:

    I’m reasonably sure that mentioning polygamy in an unrelated debate is a Utah corollary to Godwin’s Law.

  23. sweet pea says:

    That is possibly true….but still a very odd relation in such a debate…

  24. Mr Anon says:

    Please dont get me wrong. My comments about MStar are not directed at the folks answering the phones. I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for those folks answering the phones, it is a thankless job.

    My comments were directed to upper MStar management, the “suites”.

  25. Mr Anon says:

    P.S. When I try to post to this blog using a mobile device – I get a 403 error (permission denied). Not sure whats up with that πŸ™

  26. Jesse says:

    A 403 usually means that either the Bad Behavior or http:BL plugins kicked in for suspicious behavior. Do you get anything more detailed? That would help me with troubleshooting it.

  27. Mr Anon says:

    Alright, so the error is “HTTP Error 403: Forbidden

    I select details and it gives me:
    Error 403

    We’re sorry, but we could not fullfill your request for /wp-comments-post.php on this server.

    You do not have permission to access this server. Before trying again, close your browswer, run anti-virus and anti-spyware software and remove any viruses and spyware from your computer.

    Your technical support key is: d809-fa25-b40c-8ddc

    You can use this key to fix this problem yourself. (this links to

    If you are unable to fix the problem yourself, please contact jesse at and be sure to provide the technical support key shown above.

    Anyhow, it almost seems as though wp-comments-post.php has a problem, but yet I cant duplicate it in a browser, only my mobile device.

    Not a big deal – but I am not sure if you have other mobile users experiencing the same problem. I can live without being able to post from my phone πŸ˜‰

    Feel free to delete this extra jibberish from this thread – I didnt mean to hijack the blog πŸ™‚

  28. suspicious says:

    My phone service was switched to Broadweave as part of the emergency move on June 19th. While I commend Broadweave on the technical move itself (my move was completely transparent), I’ve had serious issues with the service quality since the move. VoIP services have become mainstream enough that these issues should no longer be issues for providers. I’m not sure whether my service was moved to Broadweave’s Broadsoft switch at Traverse Mountain, or Veracity’s Sonus switch in Provo — I suspect for ease and convenience, customers were moved to the Veracity switch (which has been known to have significant and severe issues — many yet unresolved — on both the UTOPIA and iProvo networks).

    So, here are the complaints:

    1) Near-end and far end audio loss. Frequently, it sounds like I’m speaking to someone on a cell phone, although I’m not. This is simple packet loss issue.
    2) Far-end random electronic audio noise. I’ve had quite a few callers complain of hearing electronic sounds and noises on their end, although I do not hear them on my side.
    4) Fax machine barely works now. It took me three attempts to send a 6-page fax. When it did go through, it took 15 minutes to transmit. Never had this problem with my previous service!

    So much for Broadweave improving the quality of my phone service! Frankly, my previous phone service could not have been much improved. NGT/MStar was nearly flawless (with the exception of a few voicemail issues). If Broadweave can’t get these issues resolved, I’ll probably be going back to Vonage.

  29. snacktacular says:

    Open a ticket with Broadweave. They will see this issue through, on all accounts. 691 5800, or email

  30. suspicious says:

    Just opened a ticket — BECAUSE I HAVE NO DIAL TONE THIS MORNING — Broadweave is “aware” of the problem and their engineers are “on their way in.” Stay tuned for more details.

  31. iLikediProvo says:

    suspicious: Were you Mstar or Nuvont? I was Nuvont, and I also have no dial tone this morning. I’ve been unable to ready Broadweave. Please keep us posted if you hear anything.

  32. Capt. Video says:

    The Daily Herald reported that of the 10,245 residential customers on iProvo, NuVont had only 2100.

    This means that 80% of the homes in Provo connected to iProvo were Mstar homes!

    I think enough numbers have been given in a variety of news stories that we can estimate the subs all service providers have.

    It was noted in previous posts that Mstar was also the provider with the majority of customers on UTOPIA. The Daily Herald reporting that Mstar had 5000 customers on Utopia and NuVont had 1000 UTOPIA subs. I think UTOPIA reported at a Utah Taxpayer Association (a business organizations front) meeting that Mstar had 7000 customers.

    That would mean XMission would have about 1000 UTOPIA customers?

    My point here is that Mstar appeared to have 76% of the subscribers on iProvo/UTOPIA.

    It appears all other service providers combined have 24% of the customer.

    So which company’s have been spending on marketing and which are only picking the low hanging fruit? Where would both networks be without Mstar having spent millions marketing and installing on their network?

    In addition to other problems (many mentioned on this forum) one big problem was they spent so much on sales, marketing and installations (labor/equipment) that they simply ran out of money.

    As I’ve stated before it takes years to pay back up-front customer costs and a service provider needs very deep pockets to both be aggressive in sales and survive.

  33. skoop says:

    It’s very easy to acquire customers on the Iprovo and UTOPIA networks if you can sell it for less than other carriers, which is what mstar does.
    As for the comment:
    “Where would both networks be without Mstar having spent millions marketing and installing on their network?”.
    The answer: They would be in a better position financially. 3 major reasons why:
    1. The money they (UTOPIA & Iprovo) fronted to get Fiber to the customers prem wouldn’t have been lost (only years of the customer being on the network + actually getting paid by the Service Provider would make up for that cost)
    2. They wouldn’t have to spend time and money trying to get mstar to pay them (accounting/collections/lawyer fees).
    3. They wouldn’t have the bad publicity going around about mstar not paying their bills.

    All we ever hear about from IProvo (not as much UTOPIA…yet) is “number of subscribers”. Well if you’re not making money on every “subscriber” whoopidy-freaking-doo! Bad business plan Cap! Let’s hope UTOPIA learns from IProvo’s mistakes and figures out a way to get paid and last longer than 5 years before imploding.

  34. poop says:

    My fucking edge internet in my phone is faster than this mstar fiber optic crap. I hate mstar big time.

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