Qwest Cuts Off SkyWi in Network Dispute

According to the Albuquerque Business Journal, Qwest has cut off a rival local exchange carrier over a billing dispute. Qwest and SkyWi, a wireless broadband provider that pays Qwest for backhaul, have been involved in a billing dispute that resulted in Qwest cutting off service to SkyWi on Dec. 30.

New Mexico’s utilities regulator ordered Qwest to turn it back on until such time that a court hearing is held, in February, and to give 10 days notice before shutting down service again. But yesterday morning, Qwest had second thoughts:

SkyWi, which is New Mexico’s largest independently owned and operated ISP, said Qwest disconnected SkyWi telecommunication services to Artesia, Santa Fe and Las Cruces on Wednesday morning, apparently in violation of a Dec. 31 order by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to not cut services.

Qwest’s high-handed attempts to disrupt its competitor and customer make a mockery of the Telecom Act of 1996, and offer more proof that the incumbents don’t operate in a competitive environment — no matter how much Qwest likes to pretend otherwise.

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