Salt Lake City Weekly just ran a story on Qwest’s attempts to limit competition and it looks like XMission isn’t alone. The CFO of Fibernet, Lee Livingston, says they have also experienced getting cut off from newer infrastructure and getting their customers poached. Tellingly, the Qwest PR flack tasked with responding refused to dispute the accuracy of the recorded phone call with their rep, instead trying a weak sauce accusation that it had been fabricated or altered. (Hey Qwest? That’s pretty much an admission of guilt and makes you look petty.) Fibernet used to complain to the FCC about these problems and gave up after they got no results.
The short of it is that the new era of competition that was supposed to be ushered in by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 flamed out almost as fast as it arrived. Incumbents have been actively thwarting wholesale customers to lock the market back up while claiming that they still have sufficient competition. Open networks like UTOPIA are the last chance to correct this market imbalance. And yes, it will be expensive and painful. Most mistakes are.
Telephony Online has a great article on UTOPIA that gives some insight as to what exactly they’re doing over there. It also includes some quotes from Fibernet and FuzeCore, the new providers on the network. DSLReports also picked up on the article and offered some additional commentary worth checking out.
After many months of waiting, UTOPIA has launched a new website (warning: sound and Flash ahead). It also includes a form for you to submit contact information to UTOPIA to check for service in your area and express your interest in signing up when it becomes available, apparently they hired a business web design firm that help with all the problems the old site had. It also lists FuzeCore and Fibernet as providers (in addition to XMission, Veracity and Nuvont), but Mstar is still absent from the list. None of the providers on the website are shown as providing video, definitely a cause for some concern. The site is also lacking any kind of newsletter sign-up or RSS feed for updates. Still, this is a marked improvement over the presumed-dead static site that had been up for years.
Local ISP and co-location company Fibernet has been added a new provider on UTOPIA. It appears that they will be providing Internet-only services and plan to serve both homes and businesses. The official press release is light on details and Fibernet doesn’t currently have UTOPIA pricing on their website.
As an aside, this popped up in Google Alerts and I didn’t end up getting a copy of the press release directly despite a promise that I would be on that list. Hey UTOPIA guys? On the ball with the information distrubution por favor?