One month after q disconnected SkyWi in a billing dispute, they seem to be at it again. In late December, Qwest cut its connections to the fixed wireless provider claiming non-payment of some $1.7M that was tied up in a legal dispute. The New Mexico PRC stepped into the fray within days, ordering them to reconnect within 48 hours. Of course, it took about a week to get everything back to normal, and the PRC scolded both for letting things get this far. Qwest said delays in reconnecting were caused by SkyWi supplying a list of phone numbers that had duplicates (apparently it doesn’t take much to confuse these guys? LOL) But of course, an ILEC dragging its feet shouldn’t surprise anyone. Caught in the middle were Skywi’s business customers, who were understandably ticked off by the whole situation.
Did anyone learn anything? Apparently not much. SkyWi says that Qwest once again disconnected portions of its network yesterday, including Artesia, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, which seems to be in violation of the PRC’s orders. Qwest apparently intendes to continue teaching its upstart competitor how to play telecom hardball. As an outsider, I have to wonder just why we are going through all this trouble in the first place? For Qwest $1.7M is pocket change, the publicity is not great, and even if they win customers from the whole process they will still be angry customers who won’t forget being forced to buy from them. And for SkyWi, billing disputes happen all the time, only now and then does it lead to such ugliness – surely they could have handled this better?
As for the latest disconnection, I’ll bet it doesn’t last long. Heck, it might even be back up already – news sources are scarce. But I doubt it was an accident. I wonder when that court date is, so SkyWi can get the bill sorted out and get on with things that don’t involve spending weeks paying lawyers and apologizing to customers.
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