Qwest to warn SkyWi about future disconnects
The Associated Press
Saturday, January 10, 2009
SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico regulators have approved an agreement
with Qwest Communications International Inc., which will provide
notice before disconnecting SkyWi Inc. from its system.
The Public Regulation Commission had asked telecom company Qwest
and SkyWi, an independently owned Internet service provider, to
notify customers of disconnections 10 days in advance.
Qwest agreed to the request. SkyWi refused to acknowledge
the PRC's jurisdiction and declined to sign the agreement,
citing a lawsuit it has pending against Qwest in federal court.
SkyWi sued in December, alleging anticompetitive behavior.
The lawsuit accuses Qwest of willfully and routinely engaging in
practices designed to remove effective competition.
Qwest on Dec. 29 disconnected about 10,000 SkyWi customers over
a $1.7 million debt it said SkyWi owed. SkyWi — whose
customers include local governments, hospitals and banks — does
business under its own name and through subsidiaries ZiaNet and
SkyWi President Jack Leach has said some customers switched to
different providers after losing their connections, and that his
company lost customers' trust.
The PRC on Dec. 31 ordered Qwest to restore service immediately.
Qwest told the commission Thursday that at least 98 percent of
SkyWi customers now have service restored.
As for SkyWi, the PRC has no jurisdiction over the company.
However, even if SkyWi does not notify customers of
disconnection, a PRC spokesman said Qwest and the commission can
notify the public.
A federal judge has set a Tuesday hearing over whether Qwest
should continue the service while SkyWi's lawsuit against Qwest
PRC Commissioner David King said a number of state legislators
from southern New Mexico indicated to him that the commission should
maintain oversight of the quality of service of all
telecommunication companies in
"I know they have a great deal of concern regarding this
particular incident," King said in a statement. "They have
indicated to me that if there are any loopholes in the state law
(regarding telecommunications), they intend to bring legislation
in the upcoming session to correct it."