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.
Qwest announced key leadership changes in Sales and IT. The link includes some background about each of the new executives that have been chosen. I’m hoping the new leaders will realize the importance of bringing telecommunications into the 21st century by investing in infrastructure like Verizon has been doing and understand the increasing importance of upload speeds.
Recently, it has come to light that Comcast has been throttling bandwidth for various applications with little or no disclosure. In a 67 page order, the FCC has said that “Comcast has 30 days to fess up about P2P throttling”. On Wednesday, there were also reports that Comcast would slow traffic for heavy users, but today in the NYTimes Comcast claims that no final decisions have been made about managing network traffic.
There is a looming problem on the Internet, IP addresses are running out. There is a finite number of addresses and experts keep telling us we are close to exhaustion. The solution is IPV6, but according to reports, it is failing to gain traction.
Internet traffic is on the rise and consumers are using more and more bandwidth:
“As cable and phone companies race to upgrade services or offer video for the first time, they’re doing it by installing equipment in boxes on lawns, easements and curbs all over American neighborhoods. Telecommunications rollouts have always been messy, but several towns and residents are fighting back…”
Some ISP’s have responded to increased bandwidth usage by some of their customers with announcements of new bandwidth caps.
P2P data is a big bandwidth user, apparently accounting for 40%-60% of all the traffic used on the Internet. Some researchers have a novel idea for cutting bandwidth usage. In a paper to be released next week, researchers found a way to lessen the load of P2P with an algorithm they dub “P4P”. Though the P4P article is scant on technical details, it involves finding shorter routes between users thereby making the traffic traverse fewer networks.
An analyst at a major investment firm says that broadband competition is today as good as it is going to get and that there aren’t going to be any major disruptive technologies in broadband in the future. All the more reason UTOPIA is so important: it provides an open infrastructure that fosters provider competition.
Speaking of politics, this article has an interesting look at the Internet policy in the 2008 Democratic platform. I couldn’t find any info yet about the 2008 Republican platform (it hasn’t been released yet). In 2004, the Republican platform stated: “Broadband provides Americans with high-speed Internet access connections that improve the nation’s economic productivity and offer life-enhancing applications, such as distance learning, remote medical diagnostics, and the ability to work from home more effectively…Broadband technology will enhance our nation’s economic competitiveness and will improve education and health care for all Americans.” It’s nice to see that both major parties acknowledge the importance of broadband for the future of this country.
We’ll see you at the Layton U-CAN meeting on Saturday at Noon at the Davis Library.
I had an interesting conversation recently with the director of operations at a company that is one of the big players in the telecommunications industry in Utah and this individual confirmed that they were working with UTOPIA to begin to sell their retail telecom service with a UTOPIA transport. When asked when they would start providing service, this individual noted that they wanted to first be confident that UTOPIA would be reliable. It seems that they are doing testing and there’s even some infrastructure already being put in place. This is very exciting news.
If UTOPIA proves successful, I imagine that there will be a lot of service providers that will use UTOPIA as their transport in the cities where it is available instead of Qwest’s aging copper infrastructure. Ultimately, it will put pressure on Qwest to improve their infrastructure even in non-UTOPIA cities or “risk” having UTOPIA go in there as well. As we move into the future, companies and individuals are realizing that speed matters with telecommunications. Qwest has made some commitments to improve infrastructure with fiber-to-the-node; but while that offers improved download speeds, so far there haven’t been any pushes to significantly improve upload speeds which are becoming critical. Hopefully UTOPIA’s success will change that even for the cities it doesn’t service by pushing incumbents to invest in their infrastructure.
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.
Just a quick note that August’s Utah County meeting of the UTOPIA Citizen’s Advisory Network will be held at the City Center building in Lindon at 4PM on Saturday the 23rd. Bring anyone who’s interested in UTOPIA or would like to help it succeed.
Frontier Communications, the incumbent phone carrier in Tremonton, has decided to give UTOPIA a helping hand by implementing a 5GB monthly cap on all of their DSL customers to drive them into the arms of a competitor. By comparison, the lowest cap available from a UTOPIA provider is 20 times that at 100GB per month. When the service starts rolling out in September and October, I’m sure that UTOPIA will see a good number of signups from angry customers who don’t appreciate per-byte billing.
One of two possibilities exists: they arrogantly think they’re so much better that nobody will switch or don’t see how boneheaded a move this is. Either way, it highlights the need for a bit of competition in the marketplace.
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.
There will be an interim meeting of U-CAN for Salt Lake County residents on July 29th at 7PM. We will be meeting at the Holladay Library on Murray-Holladay Road just east of Highland Dr. While this is specifically for Salt Lake County residents, anyone is welcome to attend.
Rolling stones gather no moss and UTOPIA is barrelling down the hill. There’s a new RFP up on their website looking for fiber splicing and testing to tentatively begin in August. The RFP closes on August 1, so it looks like they’re sticking to an aggressive expansion strategy. Good news for those of you staring at dark fiber in your town!