The Now-Missing Broadweave Post

Yes, it’s gone. The short version is that after feedback and some careful consideration, I determined it was boneheaded to have even posted the full letter in the first place. Instead, I’ll summarize the key allegations and rumors from the tipster who sent it to me:

  • Lax physical and logical security
  • Poor customer service
  • Preferential treatment of VIPs such as city council members
  • No accurate record of which customers to bill and multiple changes of the billing system
  • Little oversight from the corporate office
  • Sexual harassment and hostile working environment

A current Broadweave employee wrote that most of the allegations were either untrue or half-truths. Given their explosive nature, the letters themselves shouldn’t have even gone up in the first place. It was dumb on my part and I should have just summarized the key points.

The only one that I have any kind of confirmation on is the security. I’ve had at least three sources confirm that there was a significant theft of long-distance services (6-figure, one of them says). I initially thought it was just bad luck, but a lack of appropriate security would make me reconsider that. Everything else? That’s anyone’s guess.

Meta: Some Small Upcoming Site Changes

This week has presented some unique opportunities for me in regards to FreeUTOPIA. Over the course of the two-plus years that I’ve been posting, I’ve met many people involved with and interested in UTOPIA including service providers, contractors and even opponents. It has not only provided unique insights into how the project functions; it has also provided a pretty strong professional network. With goods but affordable websites and a good host, which I found at this Hoster’s low-cost hosting guide.

On Monday, I was approached with an offer to do part-time consulting work for a UTOPIA independent contractor who also plans to pursue work with several other fiber optic systems. Their proposal was that I spend a couple hours a week putting together a “reading list” of what’s happening in the telecommunications space to inform UTOPIA staff of industry developments and help keep the project on-track. This feature will also be published weekly on this site (I’m gunning for Saturdays) under the Broadband Bytes banner while looking at fantastic themes for photographers. Jonathan Karras and Mike Taylor will still be contributing authors on the site, though they will probably tend more towards traditional articles and essays.

I was also asked by an author at a national telecommunications magazine to consider petitioning the magazine’s editor for a position as an article contributor on subjects related to fiber networks in Utah. Paid or not, I’m interested in bringing more information about UTOPIA to a wider audience and followed his advice to inquire about it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

So does this mean I’m selling out? I hope not. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I have been steadfastly opposed to running advertising on Free UTOPIA since it benefits me and me only. I don’t want the site itself to be a revenue generator no matter how tempting the paycheck may be. I don’t, however, have any problem with offering paid consulting services to contacts I’ve made via all of this work that I’ve done. I won’t lose any sleep at night over accepting this offer and aside from who’s writing most of the Broadband Bytes features, it should be the same old site.

Welcome to New Members of the FreeUTOPIA Team!

I run into articles on telecommunications on a regular basis that I enjoy yet don’t seem to end up using in articles I publish. I got inspired by the Morning Edition posts at Utah Amicus and the Shortbread posts over at The Tech Report to find a good way to share them: a semi-regular “Broadband Bytes” feature.

To help with this effort, I’ve asked Mike Taylor and Jonathan Karras to help publish this feature at least twice a week to share interesting news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts on television, broadband, telephony or anything else related to telcom. Please join me in welcoming them to the team!

Website Updates: WordPress 2.5.1, bbPress

Since the old forums have stopped working and WordPress was badly out of date, I decided it was time to do some big upgrades. The website is now running on WordPress 2.5.1 instead of 2.1.3 and I’ve updated a bunch of plugins to match.

Bigger news is that I’ve ditched the old phpBB forums in favor of bbPress after we heard from a responsive web design in Perth Australia company telling us all this information. It’s from the guys at WordPress and seems to be a much more modern and clean design inside and out. It also has the most excellent Akismet spam protection, an area where phpBB just flat-out stinks. Unfortunately, all of the old posts and user accounts registered for phpBB will not be migrated. There wasn’t much content and the pain involved in figuring out how to do it? No thanks.

Let me know if you encounter any oddities with either the site or new forums. 

Open Thread: PacketFront's Relationship to UTOPIA

Per reader request, I'm opening up a thread to discuss the relationship between PacketFront and UTOPIA.

Some background: Last year, PacketFront purchased DynamicCity, the project management group for UTOPIA. DC also did consulting on projects in Arizona and Palo Alto, CA. PacketFront is a Swedish company that draws on a considerable amount of industry experience from that country's construction of an open-access fiber optic network. As part of the purchase, the Lindon office has been maintained in its current location.

My understanding of PacketFront's relationship to UTOPIA is that they assumed the contract for project management from DynamicCity and have continued in that role with Chris Hogan, VP of Marketing, being the most public figure. A search on LinkedIn shows at least 12 PacketFront employees in the Intermountain West, some of whom I recognize as former employees of DynamicCity.

Questions? Comments? Rude noises? I'd also invite any employees of PacketFront to chime in to provide any additional details or clarification. 

Meta: Spam Karma Ate Some Comments

If you've left a comment over the last few days that didn't appear on the site, that problem should be fixed now. Spam Karma decided to go "nom, nom, nom" when too many comments were posted over a short period or time. I've adjusted it to be much less sensitive to rapid-fire comments and recovered ones that didn't look like duplicates of existing comments. I've also turned on an option to let you redeem yourself through a CAPTCHA should your score still get a bit too low. If you still notice comments not appearing, please let me know so I can recover them and adjust Spam Karma's sensitivity.