By Tyna-Minet Ernst
Thousands of BYU students will receive new Internet providers this month after MStar and Veracity replace HomeNet Utah as the new retail partners in the iProvo telecommunications project, Provo officials announced Friday.
The announcement came after HomeNet Utah, iProvo?s first business partner, decided to sell their part of the venture to other businesses. HomeNet wants to provide services on a system they own, rather than continue to lease from the city, said Provo City Mayor Lewis Billings in the press conference.
Provo city owns the fiber optics infrastructure and leases bandwidth to private companies that provide telecommunications services, such as Internet, telephone and cable television, to Provo residents. Billings said the construction phase of the venture is a little more than halfway done.
The first areas completed include many of the streets surrounding BYU campus. About 4,000 BYU students currently use iProvo services, said Paul Venturella, a telecommunication manager for the iProvo network. Thousands of other students are signed up with the new service providers. Veracity CEO Drew Peterson said they have already started to approach apartment owners with the possibility of switching to the iProvo system.
Some of the apartment complexes currently using iProvo include Chathamtowne, Belmont and University Avenue Condos.
?We will offer a superior service with higher bandwidth speeds than we are currently offering,? Peterson said.
MStar CEO Jon Hansen said iProvo?s network is over 170 times faster than the previous service. Both CEO?s said they were optimistic and excited for the transition to iProvo.
Billings said the ?transition and termination? period may cause some disruptions for those currently using the system. The transition should be completed by Aug. 1. Hansen said they will be working in the middle of the night to decrease any possible service interruptions.
?We don?t anticipate significant service interruptions,? Hansen said. ?When you do a transition as complex as this, there are always issues and we will try to isolate those.?
Current users will be divided between the two companies according to what services they use. City officials did not disclose how many would go to each company.
Both businesses are based in Utah and have an established clientele throughout Utah Valley. MStar has held distribution partnerships with both the BYU Bookstore and BYU athletics in the past. Hansen said MStar would like to expand that relationship in the future.
Veracity and MStar were selected during an open application period that began in April 2005. According to a press release, the city will continue to review applications for additional retailers.