City hires 2 consultants to help stanch cash flow
Unfortunately, before iProvo was launched, when Provo asked "business" to
provide minimal broadband to the city both Qwest and cable said no--they would
only provide it to the affluent neighborhoods. So if the Utah Taxpayers
Association were to have their way, only the rich get high-speed access. This
doesn't excuse mismanagement but don't trash the idea that everyone should have
equal access to the internet just like access to electricity (like another Provo
utility that "competes" with business.)
Former Provoan is typical Utah socialist who thinks he's a conservative. Prior to iProvo, it wasn't just the rich that were getting broadband in
Provo.If this were about the non-rich getting broadband, then iProvo
would have more subscribers by now and it would not be losing money because so
many non-rich people would be subscribing to iProvo's providers' services.Besides, iProvo supporters said that the project would MAKE profits, not
lose money.It will be very interesting to watch the ways Billings
will try to justify even more transfers from the general fund to cover iProvo's
loses. I live in a city without socialist broadband, and it's not
just the rich that get broadband.
I am one who tried iprovo with both providers and left both. The problem is that
the phone service is too unreliable. Not a week would go by that the phone was
down at some point. People would be trying to reach us and couldn't get through.
Important messages were never received and this sometimes caused major problems.
Nor could we call out. What if there had been an emergency. Thank goodness for
cell phones!!! It was just too dangerous and too costly to have the phone be so
unreliable. The TV and internet were fine though. I am looking forward to seeing
who the new providers are. Maybe I will give it another shot.
I hear its actually much worse than they are willing to talk about since the
service providers are not paying their obligations to Provo. It's great service
but the day to day management needs an overhaul.
iProvo was a good idea 5 years ago and its still a good idea today. The telecom
monopolies have been relentless in undermining municipal fiber projects like
iProvo and locally these efforts have forced the city to revise their plans.
But iProvo has already delivered on one of its initial promises -- to make
available high-speed telecom services to all of the cities residents and
businesses at affordable rates. Provo city will continue to refine its business
model and adapt and over time the iProvo project will continue to deliver its
So the solution to 'Former Provoan' is to incentivize Qwest or Comcast to
provide a telecommunications network to Provo residents. Several
wireless providers are willing to provide FREE wireless Internet to city
residents in exchange for placing wireless antennas on city buildings to
"blanket" the area.iProvo and Utopia are mistake projects undertaken
by government because they don't understand business or customer service. (It is
likely the drop rate is a combination of customer service, limits placed on the
private providers, and cost of service)
For what its' worth, I moved to Provo specifically because of the great internet
access I am able to get through iProvo. Over the (very) long term, iProvo will
turn out to be a good investment for the city.
Does the other Provo utility "compete" with business? No, they have a monopoly.
If the only way to have internet access in Provo was through iProvo, then iProvo
would have the number of subscribers that it nees to survive. Of course it could
then charge the rates that would allow it to survive not the rates it has to
charge to be competitive. At present, the other options for broadband are
sufficent and competitive so people are not beating down the door to iProvo.
There is a reason that private business was not willing to bring fiber to the
door in Provo. There is no profit in it yet, as the victims in Provo are
I subscribe to iProvo Internet, and phone, but turned off my cable service
because frankly, the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) was horrible when compared to
my Dish Network DVR which I turned off to make the switch.Until providers
decide to compete in quality and price with the comcasts and satellite
providers, the churn rate will continue to increase.GET BETTER DVR'S and
I'll sign up again!
It takes time to stabalize these kind of massive infrastructure projects, but
the city is moving the right direction. I believe that Provo will narrow the
losses in the comming years. If you ask iProvo subscribers, the outstanding
speed of the internet is a real hit and positions the city, businesses and
residents for cutting-edge applications. We should be wary of comments from the
Utah Tax-Payers Association as a front for Qwest. I urge the council to work
with the administration to make the project a success.
"one strategy is to have city departments pay more for the benefits they get
from iProvo". I would like to know if the city departments are paying less or
more for their services due to iProvo. That is, how much will the city
departments be paying for their services under iProvo, and how much would they
pay for the same level of services if iProvo didn't exist. Finally, I'd like to
know if the city departments really need the level of services provided by
I was at the meeting and was appalled to learn that iProvo was not given
anything for services provided to other city departments. In other words, they
have been doing the accounting as if they expected subscribers to subsidize the
city's own network usage. I'm dumbfounded that they would setup the books like
that and I'm glad to hear that they're going to change it up so that city
departments will actually be paying iProvo for their usage. That will probably
cause a drastic change in the financial picture.
They deserve their losses for having hopped on the I-whatever bandwagon.
iProvo is not competing with anyone but the big expensive cable and telephone
networks. Remember that the city simply provides the infrastructure and
BUSINESSES provide the service. As more providers come on board with iProvo
competition will increase, as the article says and, prices will go down and
service will go up. It is a win win. If you know anything about business
you'll know it takes time to become profitable, same with iProvo. It'll take
time, but it will be good for everyone.
If there is a profit to be made, or a respectable ROI, businesses will pursue
it. If government gets involved, it will be a mess. You now have a mayor and
public officials making decisions competitive business managers must make--how
to make a business profitable. That's not why they were elected (for their
business savvy). Unless Provo is willing to subsidize this venture indefinitely,
it will certainly fail. I give it two more years of life and after huge losses,
citizens will demand its termination. disclosure: I live in Springville, have no
ax to grind, but have some business background (not qwest or any other iProvo
connection) in the Internet/Telecommunications industry.
Maybe they should use a similar idea and open a hundred gas stations, that way
the non-rich can have access to gasoline. Provo could also franchise a Wal-Mart
to ensure access to cheap chinese goods. Most importantly they need to start
their own newspaper to ensure the citizens have access to the news. And of
course, Provo is not served by many adult bookstores, so the government should
open one or two of those as well.
It is utterly amazing to me. iProvo has all the things it needs to be
successful, except leadership. In the real world, "private sector," when
management's poor decisions cause a company to spiral the Board of Directors,
(In this instance the TelComm Board and Provo Citizens) demand they "resign" and
bring someone in who can run the company. Billings and Garlick have made poor
decisions from the start of this new "corporation," iProvo, and for some reason
they are still managing the show. They can't even get the providers to pay
their bills to Provo City. They talk the big talk but they have never made any
changes to bring this boondoggle around. When are is the board and the
shareholders (citizens) going to demand the one thing that has to be done to
make sure iProvo is a success?
Customer service is a problem. I left MSTAR because the phone was too
unreliable, but I thought I would give it another shot (hoping they have fixed
the phone by now) because I like the TV (lots of local stuff plus MTN) Well, I
emailed them at the address on their website and asked what it would cost to
come back. That was a month ago and NO RESPONSE!!!
don't you think that instead of complaining and criticizing it would be better
to get behind the city now that we do have iprovo and support what is already
there for us. We know that comcast and qwest and george stewart all have an
agenda in mind with their constant barrage of telling us it won't work. If the
majority of provo citizens would support i provo, it would certainly keep us
from tax increases in the future. quit tearing down and let's help with our
support. we love our mstarmetro tv and computer service. they are always bend
over backwards to help us with any problems. i can't say that for comcast or
qwest.com on provo, let's make it work!!!!
peolpe continue to endorse billings for mayor despite is failure with the iprovo
project it has everything to do with understandinf business and billings would
understand that if he really took those classes at byu that he lied about in the
last election race and people continue to ignore the problems that will
manifest themselves again as it gets cold this winter down time for the internet
and phone becasue of the optics breaking in the cold i have considered iprovo 3
times but continue to get the same feedback internet faster then comcast but to
much downtime on a weekly basis same thing with phone so the issue is bigger
then billings continue to say the problem continues to be the infra structure
and the mistakes during construction and laying of the fiber lines
On the subject of providing iProvo services to the city departments; its always
bad when purchasing decisions are made based upon favorite vendor status. First
the services need to be justified, then diligence needs to be done to secure the
least cost alternative for comparable quality. If the city opts to use iProvo
for these services, how is the price set? Its too easy for these decisions to
get corrupted when their is no competitve process or oversight. If others can do
these "services" more competitively then they should be selected; otherwise it
just becomes a subsidy or bail out to iProvo. Where are the govermental checks
and balances to protect my tax dollars from this?
Governments build roads. The reason they build roads is to facilitate commerce.
That commerce generates revenues for the government in the form of taxes (and
not just sales taxes). In an increasingly digital world, municipal broadband
works just like roads. It facilitates digital commerce.Imagine if
Qwest/Comcast was a retail store and they also owned all the roads to that
store. At their store they could charge whatever they wanted to (and they do -
we pay more for broadband along the Wasatch front than other metropolitan
areas).It doesn't make you a socialist if you support municipal
broadband. It means you're a realistic capitalist wary of monopolies (ie -
you're tired of paying $50+/month for a tiny pipe to the internet).Also, don't forget that it was our tax dollars that initially built Qwest's
monster copper network (through then permitted monopoly MaBell) in the early
I have philosophical differences with the concept behind iProvo. When government gets involved in businesses that are supposed to generate a
profit and compete with other private enterprises that must make a profit or
disolve (but the government run enterprise can leach off the tax payers or pull
from a slush fund if they run at a loss and stay in business) it's a major
advantage for the government run enterprise, which will eventually become a
monopoly and then of course can make a profit because they have been able to
weed out any competition because of their competative advantage. iProvo can live off the tax payers while times are tough and private companies
try and fail to penetrate the Provo market charging competative rates for their
services, while iProvo can afford to undercut the private companies prices
because they have the the financial backing of the city/state and are almost
guaranteed not to fail no matter what they charge or how profitable they are.It's a bad idea (philosophically).
I appreciate having iProvo's fast internet and do not have any problem with the
phone, even though I heard quite a bit about it. My biggest issue is Veracity's
extremely poor customer service and technical support. These days I just avoid
contacting Veracity and Nuovent(?) directly, even though I really like to add
HDTV channels. It's a good thing iProvo are adding new provider. It's also
annoying that iProvo had cut down on the number of TV channels and eliminated
access to previously available music channels. This is no way to maintain
customer satisfaction. If I have comcast connection at my site I would have
switched long ago.Charging city departments for iProvo would make no
difference to us. We Provo residents would still be paying for all their
If the City of Provo could offer their own service instead of contracting with a
for-profit company mandated by the Legislature they would be able to offer
better service at a lower price. Instead, high priced lobbists paid by certain
for-profit cable companies were successful in hobbling the model to make it
difficult to make a profit. Change the ridiculus law and let
cities/towns and counties offer their own service and have a better control of
their destiny. Provo has an incredible service rate with their power department
because they are in charge of the service and delivery of power to homes and
businesses. Why shouldn't they be able to do the same with cable and telephony?
Has any one heard that UTOPIA has just laid off more than 80% of its staff
through Dynamic City? My understanding is that they weren't able to get $100 M
funding from the USDA - Rural Utility Service and they are potentially bankrupt.
If this is true, when is this story going to break???
An estimated 25 municipalities nation wide jumped into the broadband schemes and
they also failed. Tacoma subsidises it's iTacoma several million a year.
iSacramento, cut bait and got .13 cents on the dollar(great return on investment
of millions) the list goes on, and on. Government was incepted to provide
services that no one else would do, their job is not to compete with the private
sector. Without the people of Provo subsidising this norton, it will fail
regardless of how long it survives, if you don't think so look at your neighbor
to the south Spanish Fork same problem, over estimated take rates, poor
planning, if we need more money we will take from the other departments and,
raise taxes to compensate for the lost revenues.Next on the list is
UTOPIA, brought to you by the same people that did Sacramento in, given it's
unlimited resources(taxes)government should not use it to compete with the
private sector.You folks in Provo deserve to subsidise this project. Have
a good day
For private business - Utopia is a private business that contracts with
municipalities to do what iProvo is struggling with. It is not and never has
been government run. And I don't know about Comcast, but Qwest has never been
willing to play ball with them, either, preferring to try and maintain their
monopoly via lawsuits and obstruction tactics. Utopia could do much to help
iProvo, but Billing's administration has never been willing to hire them as
consultants, trying instead to copy what they have done, and glean free tips
whenever they can. They could have hired Utopia to handle the whole thing from
the get go and saved themselves a lot of hassle, but figured there was more
money in trying to go it on their own. and now we see the results. Typical.
Has anyone heard that DynamiCity/UTOPIA has laid off more than 80% of their
staff over the weekend? I heard they didn't get their RUS funding of $100M and
are nearly bankrupt - just a skeleton crew...If this is true, when is this news
story going to break?
We the citizens have iProvo. The debate is over whether or not it was a good or
bad idea, whether we got to vote or not, or if you voted or would have if you
could have. We have it. Why doesn't George Stewart, Steve Turley and others
grow up and quit pointing fingers. They need to be part of the solution not the
problem. They are more interested in tryng to position themselves politically
then listening and doing what's best for Provo. We have great technology.
Let's support it, pay for it and stop wrangling!
We have had iProvo since last year and have had some problems with the phone and
cable service. Internet is almost always fine, and very fast! This year we
decided that we no longer needed a land phone line, since we all use cell
phones, and cable didn't offer us much that we were interested in (except the
MTN grrr! and ESPN) so we canceled our cable and phone service and kept the
internet. Our rooftop antenna works well with the several TVs week have (since
the cable companies hooked them all up together), and at $40 a month, MStar's
internet service is the best I've found available (but yes, their customer
service is terrible!)I don't have any problems with iProvo, but I do
think they need more providers to offer real competition.
To all Provo residents who voted Billings back in: Thanks a heck of a lot.
Couldn't you see this coming a mile away. Billings is screwing the city ever so
slowly. It's his baby and don't let him BS his way out of responsibitly.
iProvo customer service is not good. iProvo picture quality often blurs
out. iProvo prices are higher than other servers. Since Provo
taxpayers are helping support iProvo maybe we should have some input on
programming packages. I do not want poor service, high prices, and 10 channels
that want to sell me garbage, foreign language channels, religious channels,
bla, bla, bla. Maybe we should be able to buy the channels we want.Whatever the deal is with iProvo it isn't working. Time to try another
strategy. If it isn't working, you must do something different to get a
different outcome.Our present leadership has no plans to improve
things. Time to get someone new. Goodbye Mr. Stewart! Goodbye Mr. Billings! Say
this isn't wishful thinking.
I too have had the internet service and it's very fast and very reliable. I've
been completely satisfied with it. It sounds like people are unhappy with the
phone and TV service. If the city would get the other products working like the
internet works then maybe it would be viable.
Utopia is actually a quasi-governmental body that represents all of the Utopia
cities. Dynamic Cities which has been acquired by Packetfront is the primary
contractor building and deploying the Utopia network. Not only has the
Packetfront deal dropped 80% of the Dyanamic City staff, but all the key members
of Utopia management have also left. The lead service provider in both Provo and
Utopia is Mstar. Perhaps Mstar is not shinning too bright.
This is another example of government's sticking its nose into places it
shouldn't be. Let private industry and the good old law of competition and
supply and demand work. I resent it when governments get into business of any
kind. Protect us from invaders and maintain our roads, and protect us from
predators, but don't compete with private enterprise. I don't want a
government-run gym, a government-run swimming pool, a government-run barbershop,
etc., etc. Let us spend our money the way we think it ought to be spent and
leave us alone.
The Utah Tax-Payer's Association (AKA big businesses including Qwest and
Comcast) can't stand the fact that the fiber optic network along this part of
the Wasatch front gives customers affordable Internet connections that are
easily 10 times faster than theirs with a smaller price tag.For
those wishing for wireless competition; the technology can't come close and may
never be able to compete with speed and overall bandwidth.The few
problems I've experienced with service have had NOTHING to do with my "provider"
MSTAR but, rather, have been the result of growing pains in the physical
infrastructure that provides the service. These are growing pains we'd all do
well to endure and to support our cities in installing. The current service
already far outstrips anything I ever received from Qwest and is cheaper. The
long-term benefits to Provo and other communities will be huge. The
government builds roads, water systems and other forms of infrastructure to make
the city work. Fiber optic service is a completely logical part of a complete
and healthy city plan.
Mstar is not shining at all. I used to have their service and the customer
service was terrible. I switched a while ago. My neighbor has the other
provider, Nuvant or Nuvont or something, and she has been really happy with it.
What about cases where private businesses have a monopoly? Certain areas of
Provo could only get Comcast or Qwest before Iprovo came about. The network has
lowered the cost of high speed internet and cable by allowing the very
competition you are talking about.
As for the city to subsidize private business, what on earth does Qwest and
Cable want? They had a monopoly! I guess we should send them a check as well
so the private sector "can work"! If the free market wants unfettered access,
then why the call for monopolies and subsidies? As for wireless, it is a nice
option now, but it wasn't when iProvo was started. Also, municipal wireless has
a horrible track record back east even with subsidies for private
sector.(Ignoring that wireless doesn't hold a candle to fiber). I know the
committee in Provo based much of their planning on Ashland, Oregon. I understand
that they have had similar problems to Provo but have seen some nice benefits as
well such as a 20% drop in cable prices. What did Provo's cable and phone rates
do since iProvo was rolled out?
In the United States, there is a long history of gov't subsidation.
The railroads were given massive land grants, well over a century ago. Only one
transcontinental railroad was built without it. The Automobile
industry had an huge network of highways and freeways subsidized.
The Aviation industry had massive airports subsidized, as well as continued
pilot training from the Air Force. As noted we already paid for the
current telephone utilities lines in the early 1900s.All of
the were government subsidization for private businesses.
How can anyone think it is fair if Provo subsidizes certain providers while not
allowing others to participate? They have turned many providers away. If they
develop a plan to funnel millions of tax dollars to their good ole boy providers
it just perpetuates poor service and bad management. The American way is to make
iprovo and their providers step up and compete on an even playing field.
Unfortunately, this is not possible when the government manages a business.
There are 101 ways that they tilt the board. Who would have thought that the
ultra-conservatives in Provo would turn out to be socialists?
Its too bad that the Associated Press and Deseret Morning News continue to fail
to report that Councilman George Stewarts namesake and firstborn son George
Stewart Jr. is Eschelon/Integras Senior Account Manager for the Wasatch Front
here in Utah, and Junior would have every reason to hope for the failure of both
iProvo and UTOPIA. I wonder if there is a small conflict of
interest in Councilman Stewarts continued pointed pessimistic attacks on iProvo
though he should represent the interest of the City of Provo without bias.
You people have no idea what really goes on inside Iprovo.If you
want the inside scoop let me know by posting your email on here, and I will get
back to you.I am employed there!!!!!
This article done by deseret says it all!!!! Thanks for making it so clear!
iProvo is a joke, its employees are riding the wave while it is still pushing
them....working on other projects while they are at the current job! This
sinking ship needs to go private, have someone who knows how to properly run
fiber to the home build it to where it can be an asset to the city, not a dead