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SBC Delays Prompt DSL Suspension

Long delays and lost orders has prompted Jump.net to suspend asynchronous digital subscriber line orders Thursday with SBC Communications Inc. subsidiary Advanced Solutions, Inc.

New orders placed to Texas-based Jump.net will be held for 30 days before being sent to SBC .

Dewey Coffman, Jump.Net vice president of sales and marketing, said its business as usual when dealing with ASI.

"For the past two months we've been documenting every customer complaint we've had, at ASI's request, and have met with everyone from the lowest level to the chief financial officer, with no results," Coffman said. "For the past four months, we've had issues with customer orders being lost and our customers have told us about ASI technicians telling them to switch DSL service to SBC. We just had to say stop."

"It's really the ugliest I've seen in the DSL world," Coffman said.

ASI was created in October, 1999, during the merger between SBC and Ameritech. Before federal regulators would sign off on the merger, they required a separate subsidiary to provide SBC customers with advanced data services.

David Robertson, Texas Internet Service Providers Association president, said the company's performance can only be described as incompetent.

"The entire situation presents a depressing picture for Internet service providers in Texas," Robertson said. "If they could provide the service they're required to by the Federal Communications Commission and Public Utilities Commission of Texas, there wouldn't be a problem."

"What we're talking about here is gross incompetence," Robertson said. "You can't hire a mountain of people, throw an ASI T-shirt on them and send them out into the field. It's going to be a bloody, expensive process before these technicians can be trained.

If something isn't done within the next few days, even hours, the company will and should be culpable and subject to the government's wrath, Robertson said. "I believe SBC is trying to rectify the situation and deliver on their promises, but just because they're big and clumsy doesn't mean we not hold them accountable. If they don't get the network open, they're culpable and subject to the government's wrath as well as civil litigation."

Last month, TISPA reached an accord with SBC to address the concerns of ISPs in Texas. As a result of the agreement, TISPA dropped its complaint filed to the Texas PUC and FCC.

In the June 10 news release, David Lopez, president of SBC's Texas operations, said ISPs were an integral part of his company's DSL deployment.

"The channel is a key part of SBC's overall DSL strategy and our ability to meet our commitment to being the country's broadband leader," Lopez said. "Working together with TISPA and participants in our ISP marketing program, we have again shown that SBC's local markets are open to competition and that Texans have a choice when selecting their DSL-based Internet service provider, as well as their telecommunications provider."

Jump.Net has begun selling high-bit DSL service to business customers needing connectivity immediately, guaranteeing a 10-day installation or the first month is free.

"Jump.Net has had a reputation for five years of providing quality service, which also includes prompt installation," Coffman said. "We will continue to work diligently toward improvement in the installation services provided by SBC's ASI to Jump.Net's customers."

SBC has yet to comment on the complaint.



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