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Gary Thornock's Weblog » iProvo hearing
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28th May, 2008

iProvo hearing


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Do all Provo City Council meetings go past midnight, or is it just that I always pick the ones that are going to run long?

The Council isn't ready to vote on the iProvo sale proposal yet. Some of the documentation isn't finished, and they want to see that first. (If they receive the remaining documents by tomorrow noon, then the discussion will continue at next Tuesday's regular Council meeting; otherwise, it will be postponed.) It appears that some of the council members are also skeptical about the proposal, as well as the process that led up to it, and from where I sit that skepticism can only be a Good Thing.

Broadweave knows how to put together a good looking Powerpoint presentation. I'm still unconvinced that they can handle the kind of growth they're trying to take on, though, and I'm skeptical about their ability to run a network the size of iProvo. More than that, though, I don't like the idea that they would close the network and act as the sole provider. We've all seen single provider networks before; some are financially viable (Comcast, for instance), and some are not (HomeNet, anyone?). The natural tendency for any single provider system, though, is to provide customer service that is mediocre at best, and truly bad at worst. Remember Lily Tomlin's "Ernestine the operator" character from early Saturday Night Live? "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company." That's the attitude that single provider systems naturally gravitate toward (although, admittedly, some take longer to get there than others).

Finally, as several people (including a representative from Mstar) pointed out at the hearing, the language of the original RFP really doesn't suggest that Provo City might sell the network. The RFP asks for "Proposals for Partnership Opportunities with Telecommunication Service Providers on the iProvo Network", and purports to "provide the citizens of Provo a full range of competitive choices for telecommunications services and applications." This deal doesn't do that at all.

I'm aware of other providers that were in negotiation with the city to join the iProvo network, and I know they're not pleased with this proposal either. Some of them have said as much publicly, and others commented at the hearing last night. I hope those concerns are also weighed as the Council considers this proposal.

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[…] and doesn't feel confident extending long-term financing under the current proposed terms. Some folks are as skeptical as I am, others are more optimistic. With all I've seen and heard, it's obvious to me that […]


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Gary, Thanks for taking the time to speak out at the council meeting. Believe me, Broadweave cannot handle this and they will destroy it or sell it on short order. They are clueless in marketing and technical operations.

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