Good news for those that haven’t heard yet: UTOPIA service is now available in Tremonton. Both XMission and Nuvont are selling services and the word on the street is that the install fees are rock-bottom (under $60). If you’ve been waiting for UTOPIA in Tremonton, wait no more!
A lot has been made of the issues with phone service on iProvo and the blame laid at the feet of World Wide Packets (now owned by Ciena). After getting a techincal overview of what’s going on with the devices, it appears that the blame is well-placed. As promised, earlier, here’s the explanation as to why the WWP portals are a big bucket of fail and how UTOPIA managed to dodge most of those issues.
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.
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.
Today’s meeting of U-CAN in Orem went really well with some good attendance. Residents are largely frustrated at the delays and lack of information as to when UTOPIA would be deployed in their area and are very interested in having the network succeed. We had one of the UTOPIA NOC employees on-hand today (he moved from the iProvo NOC) as well as a consultant who’s been working with some of the new prospective service providers and a lot of good information came forth.
An established triple-play provider is really close to joining the network once they negotiate transport fees and they plan to market primarily to residences. This should be announced within a few weeks. Those of you looking for an Mstar alternative, look no more!
It’s possible to order different services from different providers, but the providers don’t really know how to do it. One example of this is a subscriber who has data from XMission, voice from Nuvont and video from Mstar. If you have trouble getting the provider to offer you an unbundled service, contact your rep on the UTOPIA board to get it moving.
UTOPIA isn’t currently equipped to handle adding new pledging cities. If you’ve been trying to get your city council on board, you need to step back and wait for a bit. Most city councils want to see how things function with the new financing and leadership before committing anyway.
Paul Recanzone was kind enough to show us some footprint maps of where service can be found in Orem. Stick to central parts of the city to ensure that service is available and always do a check for it before moving.
One interesting possibility was to market UTOPIA to cell phone providers to offer backhaul for their towers. The decreased transport fees make sense for Cricket, Sprint, AT&T, etc. and UTOPIA could bag a lot of revenue in the process.
UTOPIA may look at adding wireless to the fiber backbone, either via 802.11g/n or 802.16 (WiMax). This would allow voice providers to do cellular service. In the case of WiMax, it would also allow roaming on Clearwire and allow for service outside of the Wasatch Front. That’s just in the idea stage, so don’t count on seeing anything soon.
One meeting attendee said that he was aware of Qwest and Comcast purposefully planting moles in UTOPIA providers to try and sabotage the companies from within and that this was a primary cause of Mstar’s near-collapse. I know they’re underhanded, but I’m not sure to what extent they’d try and do something quite this dirty.