Difference between Mstar, iProvo and Utopia

Steve smorrey at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 09:36:30 MST 2005

Yes, Utopia is a community project to bring Fiber to the home of every
community in Utah.
It is a Quasi Government non-profit co-operative effort, as near as I
can tell.  It is currently administered by a for profit entity.

IProvo, was the catalyst for the Utopia project.  Utopia based
everything on the assumption that they could do it like iProvo, and
they did.

iProvo from what I understand was the city of Provos attempt to bring
highspeed access to homes, after ATTBI (now comcast) basically flat
out refused to do so, citing cost concerns.

MStar is one provider among many that can service your Utopia connection.
MStar is the only one at present which provides Phone, Internet & TV
over Utopia fiber.

As an aside, anyone including Qwest and Comcast could technically
provide services over Utopia should they choose to, it's an open

It might be easiest to think of the whole thing in light of current
DSL practices.
At present if you want DSL, you call Qwest and let them know.
Qwest will provide you home with DSL capability and then you are free
to choose your Service Provider, the current default being MSN.

Utopia is the same way, Utopia provides your wireline service and
provides for maintainence and all the good stuff to get you hooked up.
 They then charge your service provider for this, and your service
provider (in my case it's MStar), sends the bits down the fiber to
your home.

Nicest difference though is in terms of service.

Last night we had an outage for about 30 minutes.  When this would
happen with Qwest DSL, Qwest you always and without fail blame MSN and
send me there.  MSN would then blame Qwest and send me back.  This
would happen 5-6 times until I informed them I was going to disconnect
services, if the problem didn't resolve.  At which time the
appropriate party would find and fix the problem.

With MStar when the outage occured, they said "not sure if it's our
problem or not but we'll be right on it".  30 minutes later service
was restored.  No big deal.  No run-around.

As an aside, I figured out that the customer service call center is
located in Orem (Teleperformance USA I believe it was).  And they do
need more folks.  If you like customer service work (I do), might be
worth checking into.
My only problem with MStar right now in fact is the customer service
hold times which are horrendous, but I'll forgive them for that, since
I do realize there aren't that many folks around here available to
work in a customer service center.  And again it's local, so at least
I wasn't routed to India.  As a person who does customer service for a
living, I can totally appreciate them not outsourcing that particular


On 12/2/05, Kenneth Burgener <kenneth at uvlug.org> wrote:
> Here is a fairly simple question...
> What is the difference between Mstar, iProvo and Utopia?
> I original assumption was Utopia is the government owned fiber optic
> network, and Mstar and iProvo are private companies leasing the lines
> from the government.  Is this correct?
> Thanks,
> Kenneth
> iProvo
> http://www.iprovo.net
> Mstar
> http://www.mstarmetro.com/
> utopia
> http://www.utopianet.org/
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