Qwest Moves Closer to FTTx

Remember how Qwest had been inquiring about a FTTH, FTTP or FTTC network a few months ago? The word on the street is that they're now going to announce a big purchase of equipment that supports all three technologies for rolling out a brand new fiber network. It'll probably be a lot like UTOPIA… except move expensive, slower and with crappy customer service.

(See full article here.)

Moving to New Digs

If you’re seeing this, welcome to the new webserver! Due to traffic demands on the old server, I’ve relocated FreeUTOPIA.org to Slicehost. This should mean a definite increase in both speed and availability. Be sure to let me know if you experience any oddities.

As a side note, I’ve also migrated to WordPress 2.1 to improve security and the features available. It takes a lot of work to get that accomplished (especially since botched database installs are a common complaint), though I think I have everything worked out now.

Fiber in Rural Tennessee Comes Online

The rural town of Pulaski, TN has recently opened their FTTP network to all residents in the city. The network offers triple-play services for about $100 a month at a cost of a $17.9M bond to be paid off in 17 years. It'll be interesting to watch this project and see if it does much better than American Fork's network has done.

(See full article.)

iProvo Booms While American Fork Looks for a New Buyer

iProvo is on-track to pass the 10,000 subscriber mark within the next few months, nearing in on their revised "break even" numbers of 12,000 to 14,000 subscribers. They're currently projecting that summer sales will be more brisk than their current 60 new accounts a week with the sales now aiming squarely at the many businesses in Provo that have yet to sign up for the network. Meanwhile, their neighbor to the north, American Fork, is looking for a new buyer of their floundering fiber system. Swedish company PacketFront couldn't make the deal happen so they're soliciting new bids.

I have to wonder why it is that American Fork doesn't work out some deal with UTOPIA.

(See full articles here and here.)

New Anti-Spam Measures

Due to the excessive amount of incoming spam in the last few days, I've turned on the Bad Behavior plugin to try and limit it. This might cause some legitimate access to be blocked, but I've not had any reports of problems on other blogs I've used it on. It seems most of them are trying to exploit trackbacks to accomplish this, so I might turn them off at a later date as an extra measure.

Palo Alto Rolling Out Fiber

After years of delays, Palo Alto's city council voted 5-1 in favor of building an FTTH system in their city. This has been in the works since 1999 and even had a small test system with a limited number of participants at one point. Dynamic City, the consulting company that build UTOPIA, made an offer to the city if they would foot the costs, but the city opted instead to go with 180 Connect who will bear the financial risks.

(See full article.)

SB209 is Dead… For Now

In the final hours of the legislative session last night, the House chose to take no action on SB209 leading to its defeat and the prevention of statewide franchise agreements. You can bet, though, that this bill will probably be proposed again, potentially in a special session to be call later this year. Keep your eyes and ears open so that we don't let this one happen again.

San Francisco Experiencing Buyer's Remorse?

It seems that San Francisco is re-thinking the idea of a partnership with Google and Earthlink to provide the city with a WiFi network. The city has cited that while WiFi is quick and cheap, it's not truly competitive with a fiber-optic network and signals might not penetrate buildings in low-income neighborhoods, one of the main selling points of WiFi. The model sounds all too familiar: build a network and act as a wholesaler to multiple private service providers.

Part of the reconsideration has to do with the fast-track way that WiFi was ramrodded through. Studies show that not all options were considered when selecting a system and there's a lot of concern that the deal would amount to little more than an extra monopoly in the city. Good thing the city it starting to back off on this one.

(See articles here, here and here

Stop Statewide Franchising!

Senate Bill 209 has passed committee and will be going before the whole of the Senate for a vote. This bill would allow state-wide franchising of telecommunications services and would destroy universal access. During a breakfast sponsored by the Utah Technology Council this morning, Both House Speaker Greg Curtis and Senate President John Valentine acknowledged that it would allow new entrants to the market to cherry-pick only the most profitable areas to serve. This cannot be allowed to come to pass.

I urge you to contact your legislators as soon as possible and urge them to oppose passage of this bill.

MSTAR Ranked Better than Qwest

A poll by Utah Valley Magazine is in, and MSTAR, one of the providers on both UTOPIA and iProvo, beat our Qwest for second-best Internet provider in Utah County. They also came very close to edging out Comcast for first place. This is significant since MSTAR only has service in 7% of surveyed households compared to virtually all households in the cases of both Comcast and Qwest. Could this be a big reason why these two are running scared over municipal fiber projects?

(See press release.)