I’ve received final word that Fuzecore has decided to leave UTOPIA and has sent its customers over to Xmission. Part of the problem for the Idaho-based provider is that there just weren’t enough customers available on the network to make things work, the same problem Prime Time Communications found itself in. Xmission has graciously provided those customers with a month of free service during the transition and will honor all existing pricing arrangements, though in some cases customers have been bumped up to a higher speed at no extra charge. I applaud Fuzecore for making sure its customers are well-served on the way out the door and leaving with class. Tim McClanahan has always been open with me about what they’re up to and how they’re doing and I’m sure he’ll continue to do well back in Idaho.
Personally, I don’t think the network can sustain a large selection of providers in its current state. The slices of pie get just a bit too thin to make things work, especially with such a large service area to cover. I’m expecting the provider market to pare down to Xmission, Veracity, Brigham.net (though in a limited footprint in Brigham City) and a handful of commercial-only providers. Nuvont has been slowly dying for some time now and is rumored to be down to a scant two employees running the company. I’ve been watching ConnectedLyfe’s filings with the SEC and they continue to bleed cash on an ambitious plan to stream video that I honestly don’t think content companies are ready to embrace. Their last SEC filing in November shows $84K in revenues with $1.2M in losses. Unless there’s an investor with deep pockets or some major breakthrough with a major content company, they are not long for this world.
Honestly, I don’t think all of this is necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather have a handful of excellent and profitable providers than dozens of them waiting to see who dies first. If UTOPIA can get the network construction rolling again (seriously, guys, this is taking forever), maybe some of them will come back and give it another go. For right now, this is probably what’s best for all involved.
I used to have a contact at Nuvont, but he went unresponsive about a year ago leading me to think that maybe he’s no longer with the company. I figured the company went through some downsizing after the sale of their customers on iProvo, but this link that popped up in my Google Alerts doesn’t exactly bode well.
Now granted, this page doesn’t appear to be accessible from any link on the site, but its existence is disconcerting given how dreadfully quiet the company has been. Anyone from Nuvont want to chime in?
A solid source tells me that Nuvont is selling their iProvo customers to Broadweave effective today. Nuvont will retain its VoIP and Internet customers on UTOPIA and remain a service provider there. This isn’t much of a surprise given that Broadweave would likely not negotiate an extension of existing contracts. Nuvont has reportedly already moved many of the video customers to satellite, so Broadweave will be gaining mainly single-play and double-play customers.
Forum commenter mabuxton reports that they’re getting UTOPIA installed at their Layton home in just two weeks. XMission and two other providers (I’m guessing FuzeCore and Nuvont) are reportedly going to have residential service available in the area and you can sign up for the install right now. If you’ve been waiting with baited breath to get UTOPIA service in the city, now is the time to call!
I just spoke with a rep from Nuvont who clarified what’s going on with them. The short version is that I got only half the story and Nuvont is doing just fine.
The terminal adapter surplus was from a canceled order, but it was canceled because the product had been ordered but not delivered. Both Nuvont and the supplier came to mututally-agreeable terms to cancel and refund the undelivered shipment. Apparently the supplier then selling the leftovers either didn’t get the story straight or injected some of their own conjecture into the conversation.
Nuvont also said that they have found themselves unable to offer phone service in Tremonton just yet, but they still offer phone service in other markets. The problem is with getting available numbers from Frontier Communications, the local incumbent. This is in addition to Frontier’s refusal to port numbers for existing customers.
So there you have it. Nuvont is doing just fine.
Rumors are afoot that Nuvont Communications may be closing shop. My sources tell me that they recently canceled a large order of phone terminal adapters citing to the suppliers that they no longer planned to be in business. Service providers have also reported picking up Nuvont phone customers who claim they were told that Nuvont did not plan to offer phone service any longer. I’ve heard that company principals have denied the rumors, but I haven’t been able to get any specific responses to the evidence that’s popped up. It seems confusing given the press release several weeks ago reaffirming Nuvont as a provider on the network.
Any Nuvont customers have similar experiences? Any Nuvont employees want to clarify what’s going on?
UPDATE: A rep from Nuvont contacted me and set the story straight.
In a sparesly-worded press release, Nuvont has decided that, like Veracity, it has no plans to stop providing service on UTOPIA. There isn’t a lot of meat to the story, though it does appear that Nuvont is quite happy selling satellite TV services instead of selling thier own video product over UTOPIA.
Sounds like the iProvo troubles are about to get bigger. According to a Nuvont installer who would like to remain nameless, Broadweave has defaulted and could likely be returning the network to the city in very short order. Nuvont is also trying to switch video customers from iProvo to Dish Network, presumably in preparation for serious network troubles. This could very well mean the end of both Broadweave and Mayor Billings’ political future.
Anyone else out there heard about this?
While many cablecos and telcos are holding the line on broadband pricing, UTOPIA may be stepping it up a notch. FuzeCore lists pricing for Internet connections that is more money for less bandwidth than we’re used to getting. XMission lists similar pricing for UTOPIA services in Tremonton, though the prices for other UTOPIA cities is largely unchanged. Neither Nuvont nor Veracity disclose their pricing up-front (at least as far as I can tell).
Commenters who contacted service providers for pricing in Tremonton have gotten quotes of install costs in the $30-60 range. It’s entirely possible that UTOPIA is trying out some new pricing models that build the cost of the install into the monthly fee similar to what cable and phone companies already do. The real question is if pricing will drop once the install is paid for or if customers could choose to pay off the install cost in exchange for a lower monthly fee. I’m also wondering if the pricing in Tremonton will be rolled out to other UTOPIA markets should it prove successful.
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.