Remember the rumblings about UTOPIA’s upcoming announcement last week? Well, it’s here, and its’ huge. Starting today, seven providers will be offering gigabit service for as low as $64.95/mo. If you’ve already paid off the connection fee, this makes it the same or less than Google Fiber in Provo on six of them. Here’s the full price list:
Of note is that UTOPIA has added another provider, WebWave. They’ve been using UTOPIA for backhaul to wireless towers in Davis County since May and are now going to be a full-fledged ISP on the network. With nine total providers to choose from, UTOPIA’s offering more competition for your business than ever.
If you’re content on the lower-priced tiers, SumoFiber and XMission have already switched all customers to 100Mbps. Are you planning to pony up a little more for 10x the speed? I know I would.
A great thing about smaller providers is that they’re always looking at the crazy ideas to come up with something really cool. A great example of that is how SumoFiber is approaching home phone service. Most providers either resell a SIP trunk or roll their own in-house SIP solution. (Veracity is an example of the latter.) SumoFiber took a different tack: why not add inexpensive E911 service onto a Google Voice account? (Update: This is in addition to traditional VoIP solutions.)
The secret sauce is an adapter from a little-known company called Obihai. It’s an inexpensive ATA that lets you hook up Google Voice accounts and use a normal home phone with them. That means unlimited long distance to the US and Canada and cheap calls to pretty much everywhere else. Google Voice is a free service, and E911 trunks are pretty inexpensive (often under $1/mo). They’re doing what I did at home about a month ago, so I can attest to the reliability and seamlessness of the service.
Could you buy the adapter and configure it yourself? Probably. The advantage of the provider doing it is that they’ll handle all of the hardware, setup, and QoS for you. A gearhead like me may be able to figure it out and deal with the occasional service provider hiccup from congestion, but Joe User could find it tricky, especially finding an E911 service provider to provision. Even so, the only QoS I can implement is on my local connection, not all the way to the ISP’s backhaul connection.
This is a great way to add value to an existing service and really embraces the “dumb pipe” nature of an open access network. This is one of the many ways that UTOPIA providers can differentiate themselves against incumbents and each other.
PS They’re also going to be bumping all 50Mbps customers to 100Mbps just like XMission and match the price too.
If you’re a UTOPIA service provider doing something a little off the beaten path, let me know and I’ll be happy to write about it.
UTOPIA has added a new residential provider to the network via existing commercial provider 1Wire. SumoFiber will be offering 50M/50M, 100M/100M, and 1G/1G Internet and unlimited phone. Given the prices, I assume they are before the UIA costs are added in, but it’s still pretty competitive.
The good news about this addition is that it’s coming from a company with a performance record. UTOPIA has increased standards significantly for new and existing providers to try and prevent the kinds of problems we saw with Mstar and their resulting trail of wreckage. If anyone signs up for service, let us know how they do.
(Thanks to reader David for pointing out the addition.)