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Cable/Video

HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo

HomeNet Communications Inc., the first provider offering triple-play services on the IProvo network, flipped the switch on Tuesday, lighting up the first phase of the municipal fiber project in Provo, Utah.

HomeNet will offer integrated voice, video, and data packages that include high-speed Internet connections with speeds of up to 10 Mbit/s, digital television with video-on-demand (VOD) capabilities, and VOIP phone services. Cost for entry-level integrated triple-play services will range from $89.99 to $124.99 per month.

HomeNet’s services will be available to all of the 3,000-plus households in Provo’s Grandview neighborhood by January 2005, where more than 250 homes have been testing the service since early this year. The iProvo project is scheduled for completion in July 2006.

IProvo is just one of numerous municipal fiber-to-the-premises projects under construction throughout the country. Many communities, particularly in rural areas, have started building and financing their own fiber networks, because incumbent phone companies and cable providers have been reluctant to introduce cutting-edge services in areas that aren’t as densely populated. City-owned fiber networks also act as an incentive to lure businesses to an area.

Not everyone is thrilled that a city would want to improve itself by bettering its infrastructure. “We think it’s improper for the government to gamble with taxpayer dollars to compete with private industry,” says Vince Hancock, Qwest Communications International Inc.’s (NYSE: Q) spokesperson for the Utah, Montana, and New Mexico regions. “Especially when the services are already being offered in the private sector.”

Hancock counters the assertion that carriers aren’t reaching the areas that demand services. “The question is: ‘What is not being provided that customers are demanding?’” he says. “Big carriers have tended to fight the trend" of municipally-owned fiber networks, says Mike Render, principle of market research and consulting firm Render, Vanderslice & Associates. “In my opinion, it’s not a particularly big threat to them, because it’s a relatively small portion of the market, usually in areas where there are lower population densities where MSOs and major carriers are not coming in early.”

Qwest’s Hancock wonders what will happen when a larger municipality decides to build its own network. “If government networks are being supported by public dollars, then they have many essential advantages,” he says. “As a corporation, we pay taxes and we’re having our tax dollars used to compete against us. That’s unfair.”

He also points out that there is no pressure for municipalities to make a profit. “I challenge you to find a municipally-owned network that is profitable,” he says. Their job is to break even so they’re not spending taxpayer money.” Another project being worked on in Utah, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), is one of the first municipally-owned networks to adopt a wholesale business model where cities participating pay to build the network and own the infrastructure, which is then leased to different providers (see Utopia Launches Phase I). Utopia is in its first phase of construction, which will connect more than 50,000 homes and business in portions of six cities in Salt Lake and Utah counties. The long-term goal of the project is to connect 11 to 14 cities that have pledged funding to the project.

”Many of these municipalities developing these networks do it out of the need for economic development and to keep human capital in the area,” Render says. “As one said when we interviewed them, ‘We were bypassed by the interstate, but we’re not going to miss out on the information superhighway.’” — Chris Somerville, Senior Editor, NGS

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rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 12:59:51 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo Why are internet speeds up to 10 Mbs? Doesn't the technology support much better than that? It seems better if the speeds started at 10Mbs and went up to 100Mbs or even 1Gbs. Also, how do independent VOD providers get access to this network? Finally, is a carrier neutral colocation facility built into the infrastructure?

It's good to hear to some progress is being made in this area. Getting the mix between what is provided (and paid for) by the public sector and what is provided by the private sector seems like the challenge to me. Best of luck to the citizens of Provo.
Road Trip 12/5/2012 | 12:59:51 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo What a whimp!

----------
QwestGs Hancock wonders what will happen when a larger municipality decides to build its own network. GǣIf government networks are being supported by public dollars, then they have many essential advantages,Gǥ he says. GǣAs a corporation, we pay taxes and weGre having our tax dollars used to compete against us. ThatGs unfair.Gǥ

firstmiler 12/5/2012 | 12:59:50 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo I am guessing the 10MB refers to Internet speeds v. intranet speeds which may go as fast as the fiber + switching infrastructure allows.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 12:59:48 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo I am guessing the 10MB refers to Internet speeds v. intranet speeds which may go as fast as the fiber + switching infrastructure allows.

For internet bandwidth I'd expect the retail pricing to be in units of GigaBytes per month. At least that's how it's measured for a linux server I rent from a colo.
firstmiler 12/5/2012 | 12:59:47 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo Of the many projects both municipal and commercial that have been launched or announced, which is the one that triggers the "arrival" of FTTH as a bonafide market?

Is FTTH beyond adolesence?
lastmile 12/5/2012 | 12:59:45 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo A small company like Vonage triggered commercial VOIP.
Similarly, FTTH is beyond adolesence because because small players will trigger the "arrival" of FTTH as a bonafide market.

rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 12:59:42 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo Does HomeNet use IP multicast for any of its retail offerings?
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 12:59:42 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo For me, the signal of FTTH arrival is when somebody connects a fiber to my house on the one side and to an internet colocation facility on the other side. Also, the bits on the fiber need to be transmitted at speeds which modern technology allows. Finally, the cost to me should be reasonable.
GreyPonyTail 12/5/2012 | 12:59:42 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo Triple Play over copper loops or FTTH are finally arriving and becoming a reality. Access speeds from the home to the Access Network using ADSL2+ (for Copper) can have bandwidth up to 28 Mb/s or lower depending on loop length. FTTH should reach 100 MB/s using 100BX. Handling 3000 homes of collective bandwidth back at the CO / Data Center is no small feat. Check out www.pannaway.com for insight on kewl solutions to make this a reality.

Subscribers of service offered by Municipalities and Rural ILEC's are tired of being in the dark ages and are ready for Triple Play even if just for the Video content alone. Qwest can go pound sand with their poor service, threat to markets they ignored and whinie comments about their tax dollars working against them.
firstmiler 12/5/2012 | 12:59:41 AM
re: HomeNet Launches TriplePlay on IProvo "Does HomeNet use IP multicast for any of its retail offerings?"

If you look at their web site... www.gohomenet.net it appears that they are offering IPTV and it would be very inefficient to do anything but IP Multicast for this type of service.

FM
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