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.
The Provo City council voted to put Mayor Billings on Broadweave’s board as the official representative from the city. I wonder, however, if this will provide adequate city oversight or not. Mayor Billings kept the council in the dark during the negotiation of the deal and there have been a lot of negative rumors about Broadweave’s financial condition. This bring up the obvious question: would the mayor delay disclosure of negative information to the council to save his own political hide? It’s worth asking given the number of other questionable deals that Provo has managed to get itself into during his terms as mayor.
As the clock ticks down on a contract between UTOPIA and Provo for a shared video headend, the fight over who owes who money is starting to heat up. I’ve had a lot of anonymous tipsters relating details and rumors over some strong disagreements regarding compensating UTOPIA for their portion of the headend, a subject that appears to be strongly muddied by unclear contracts with Broadweave.
I’m no lawyer, but from looking at the headend agreement, it appears that Provo sold UTOPIA’s interest in both the VOD and Wildvine servers to Broadweave as a part of the sale of iProvo and used UTOPIA’s unused exercise of the right of first refusal as consent to do so. If that is the case, UTOPIA would naturally like to be paid for their share of that asset; it just isn’t clear who should cut the check, City of Provo or Broadweave. Given that the total is rumored to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, I can imagine that all parties involved are taking a strong stance on their respective positions.
The Daily Herald reported that both Kevin Garlick of Provo and Todd Marriott of UTOPIA are confident they can work something out, though I’ve heard that the problem in all of this is Broadweave CEO Steve Christensen who refuses to reach any kind of agreement. It looks like the headend agreement with Broadweave was signed in August of 2007 and I don’t think UTOPIA was involved in that discussion. This is coming back to bite Provo since they decided to make a lot of assumptions instead of talking it through with their partner.
Given the price tag and the tight financial situations with Provo, UTOPIA and Broadweave, I’m anticipating that this disagreement will get ugly if none of the sides plans to budge. Here’s to hoping they work out some kind of equitable solution instead of ended up in an “all sides lose” expensive legal action.
It looks like there’s a new sherriff in town: UTOPIA Watchdog and Broadweave Watchdog. The sites are registered anonymously, but the information posted leads me to believe that the person(s) operating them has been following both systems very closely and plans to not hold back at all. For instance, the websites allege that Provo intentionally over-valued the video headend in an effort to prevent UTOPIA from exercising the right of first refusal. (That would go a long way towards explaining the acrimony between the two over this shared asset.) I’m sure that as time goes by, we’ll see some interesting developments popping up on these two sites.
I’ve had several anonymous tips regarding Broadweave lately that aren’t any kind of good news for the company. These sources say that Broadweave, despite their happy face for the press, is running very tight on cash and is planning to outsource their call center as a way to cut costs. This could mean some very serious service difficulties in the near future and runs contrary to their promises to keep the company operations on iProvo within the city limits. If true, it sounds like Broadweave is coming unravelled much faster than even the harshest critics could have anticipated.
Thanks to the power of GRAMA requests, I’ve obtained all of the final documents related to the sale of iProvo to Broadweave. If you want to take a look at them for yourself, you can download them here (14.2MB ZIP). Be warned that this ZIP file contains 48 separate PDF files, so this is only for the highly curious and those needing to be put to sleep. If you find anything particularly interesting while browsing through them, do let us know in the comments.
I had the chance to sit down with someone from Veracity yesterday to get a better understanding of what they do and how they do it. One of the things that came up that is the relationship between Veracity and Nuvont, a spin-off company. I know I had a bit of confusion as to the relationship between the two entities. Now that I have the full story, it’s worth getting it out in the open to clear that air.
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.
Seems that the rumors were true: Sorenson took a long, hard look at the sale of iProvo to Broadweave and said “no thanks”. Despite this, Broadweave managed to line up alternate funding that appears to be an amalgation of EsNet and some of Broadweave’s existing investors including Fraser Bullock of Sorenson. Broadweave is playing thier hand close and isn’t talking numbers, so I’d be interested to know what the final deal is. After all, if we’re back to talking letters of credit and not money in the bank, we should be quite concerned that these letters are spread a bit thin.
Broadweave also won’t talk numbers. They won’t disclose the number of subscribers they have or the revenues they are receiving beyond vague statements like “the numbers are higher than expected”. While I can appreciate a business’ right to proprietary information, the public financing aspect of the deal means additional public scrutiny is a must. The rumor mill is that both Nuvont and Veracity plan to aggressively pursue new subscribers and many customers who’ve gotten fed up with the dwindling VOD options, flaky program guide and no after-hours NOC have been evaluating switching their provider.
Good luck Broadweave, but it seems that you aren’t totally up to the challenge.
Remember how Broadweave was operating without a business license in any city it did business in? It seems that despite having gotten licensed to do business in South Jordan and Provo, they still can’t get their ducks in a row in Washington City. Company lawyer Jay Cobb said that Broadweave through they had the matter taken care of yet when I spoke to the city recorder in May, she claimed that Washington City had been trying for months to get Broadweave to take care of its business licensing issues without any success. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at a lawyer who bends the truth.
I did a bit of checking on my own and found that that Broadweave still continues to operate in Lehi without a proper business license. I guess they’re too busy in Provo not fixing the program guide and not adding new VOD options to take care of that.