California ISPs File Complaint Against Pacific Bell
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Members of the California ISP Association (CISPA) say they are fed up with some of the practices by one of the state's largest Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) providers.
A complaint filed Thursday claims Pacific Bell and its parent company SBC's (NYSE: SBC) Advanced Solutions (SBC-ASI) are abusing their control over telecommunications infrastructure to discriminate against independent providers of Internet services and provide an unfair and illegal advantage to their affiliate: Pacific Bell Internet.
The complaint would affect hundreds of CISPA members, which use DSL for their homes and businesses.
CISPA says it wants the California s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to issue an order requiring SBC, which owns Pac Bell and SBC-ASI, to allow DSL customers to migrate amongst ISPs and prevent them from discontinuing service to customers at will.
"Now is the time to put a stop to attempts by SBC Communications to monopolize the future of broadband services in California" says CISPA lawyer David Simpson of MBV Law in San Francisco.
San Antonio, Texas-based SBC would not comment on the case citing company policy on outstanding legal matters.
Simpson says the whole situation is similar to slamming - the unauthorized practice of depriving customers of their choice of long distance providers.
"Pacific Bell and SBC-ASI have made it impossible for Internet customers to change ISPs without losing their DSL connection for weeks or months at a time," says Simpson "This is anti-competitive."
If CISPA had its way Pacific Bell and SBC-ASI would let DSL customers migrate amongst the ISPs that purchase DSL transport services from Pacific Bell and SBC-ASI.
The group says that practice would prevent the phone giant from discontinuing service to those customers that do not execute an unreasonable DSL contract.
Mostly CISPA members say they are irked at yet another attempt by a state utility to squeeze Californians for cash.
As public utilities operating in California, these companies must serve the citizens of this state, and not only their Texas shareholders," says CISPA member Lisa Bickford, COO of InReach Internet, a Stockton ISP. "CISPA s complaint should at least force Pacific Bell and SBC-ASI to sit down at the negotiating table with California ISPs."