The rumor mill says that Nuvont has decided not to sell their customer base to Broadweave and will continue to operate on both UTOPIA and iProvo. This would cause more problems for the new owner of iProvo since one of their key selling points was to control both the retail and wholesale aspects of the network. Between Veracity and Nuvont, around 20-25% of the total retail customer base would not belong to Broadweave including a significant number of high-revenue business customers.
This is the latest in a string of bad news and worse rumors concerning Broadweave. The failure to close on-time combined with persistent rumors that Sorenson has walked away from the deal casts doubts on their financial ability to properly take over the network and the failure of the merger with Veracity robbed them of significant experience with commerical accounts. Much-improved technical support and customer service also can’t overcome the frequent outages of the TV programming guide or the dwindling number of VOD options. Broadweave, meanwhile, chooses to stay silent on clearing the air of rumors and doesn’t offer up explainations for these problems, leaving customers worried about the future of iProvo.
UPDATE: It’s confirmed.
The Deseret News recently ran an article on iProvo in which Mayor Billings claimed that iProvo is seeing a major turnaround under Broadweave’s direction. Certainly there are areas that have been improved drastically, live support being the most notable. Unfortunately, this improvement in response time has been at the cost of frequent outages with the TV programming guide, a 3-4 hour outage this morning for all Internet users and a lack of general notification as to what the heck exactly is going on.
Mstar is reportedly still receiving payments for customers they sold to Broadweave. Bills have arrived from Broadweave without explanation as to who this bill was from and their purchase of the network. Rates were scheduled to increase, but not notification was sent as to how existing plans will be migrated. This is top-notch management? There’s just two weeks for Sorenson to complete their review of the financing without so much as a peep as to how that’s going.
Amidst all this are many disturbing rumors floating around. CEO Steve Christensen is reportedly having to pay employee salaries out his own pocket. It’s also alleged that Broadweave is using trucks with city plates to do business in Provo. We’ve also witnessed the departure of all iProvo NOC techs and a significant amount of the rest of the staff, a major loss of expertise that cannot be easily compensated for. With the lack of basic notifications and the “silent running” attitude, it’s no wonder that rumors like this continue to persist.
Sounds like Broadweave needs to reconsider who’s doing their PR. Anyone out there willing to fill in the gaps?
As further evidence that the transition of iProvo’s Mstar customers to Broadweave is filled with potholes, I’ve heard that Mstar abruptly shut down customer e-mail addresses without any warning or notification from either Mstar or Broadweave, the company who bought those customers. Combine that with a total lack of notification on billing changes (Mstar is reportedly still getting payments from customers they no longer service) and it appears that the highly-touted customer service Broadweave promised has ended up a dud.
I guess George Stewart picked a good time to leave the city council, now didn’t he?
About 500 iProvo customers lost service on Thursday when a truck snagged some lines on Timpview Dr, severing 3 major cables. There were no injuries and Broadweave expects to have the lines repaired by mid-day on Sunday. This is their first test of their ability to maintain the network.
Google Alerts turned up an interesting result today: a link to Broadweave's company blog. Obviously, they're still testing it out, so don't expect to find a whole lot on there. (Quick WordPress hint: go to Settings -> Privacy and turn off search engine indexing if you're not ready for it to be public.) About the only thing it has right now are a couple of test posts and some information on billing changes.
High placed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have confirmed that Veracity has pulled out of the merger with Broadweave and that Sorenson Capital may have withdrawn financial backing as a result. The 60-day delay cited by Broadweave in the papers is rumored to be buying time to find new backers. The loss of Veracity combined with the iProvo NOC employees who have left means that video experience is almost non-existent and staff resources will be stretched dangerously thin. This may account for anonymous commenters who have reported issues reaching customer service over the last several days. When asked about these details, Provo City employees involved in the deal were unaware of the failure of the merger.
The deadline for Broadweave's takeover of iProvo has come and gone without much news or fanfare at all. In fact, other than the phone customers from Mstar, we don't know if any transition has taken place. Neither the Daily Herald nor Deseret News could reach Broadweave for comment and I know that Joe Pyrah has been trying for about a week. Broadweave's website also lacks updates on the current status of the transition. Either one of two things has happened: the sale still isn't finalized or the transfer has gone over so seamlessly that nobody noticed. Anyone care to shed some light on it? (Free tip: when the press is trying to get a hold of you, get back to them quickly. Not responding to a reporter looks really bad.)
Visitor comments on the phone switch have been mixed. One commenter reported a significant degradation of call quality after the switch and blames Veracity's phone switch, one that he alleges to have had problems for a long time now. On the flip side, multiple comments have indicated that customer support is substantially improved and it's easy to reach someone with questions via phone or e-mail, certainly an area where Mstar received a lot of harsh criticism. Certainly the ability to accomplish the emergency port of 1200 numbers was impressive.
I think the real test of the transition will be when the video customers are cut over. Four of the iProvo NOC technicians left prior to the sale being finalized and Veracity is primarily in the voice and data business. Broadweave doesn't bring a lot of in-house video experience to the table either with just a small pilot operating in the Sienna Hills subdivision of Washington City. A lot of complaints about the system video centered on advanced features such as VOD, HDTV and DVR, areas where rapid improvement will need to be made.
Comcast has already been attempting to capitalize on the uncertainty of the transition and if they can push those missing features via their own products, don't doubt that they will. Several commenters have reported receiving promotional offers in the mail pushing triple-play with a DVR for $70/mo for 6 months. Ads have also appeared in the Daily Herald to entice business-class customers, the most lucrative accounts, into switching to Comcast. Given the lack of notice from Broadweave about the switch and the somewhat confusing pricing information concerning package pricing, Comcast may have a winning bet with their FUD campaign.
As usual, any comments that fill in the gaps or relate user experiences are appreciated.
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.)