Qwest Unplugs SkyWi

January 2nd, 2009 by · 6 Comments

Thousands of internet and phone customers in six states across the southwest and in the Rockies had no service this New Years Eve, due to some good old fashioned telecom hardball.  q which is of course the incumbent provider in the region unceremoniously disconnected wireless internet provider SkyWi, ostensibly for nonpayment of bills. SkyWi competes directly with Qwest for retail customers, and uses Qwest’s wholesale services as part of its network.  Of course, both sides claim to be the reasonable one.

SkyWi says they made a ‘reasonable and fair offer to avoid interruption of service’, and Qwest says they emailed an offer of an extension if a third of the bill the night before. It certainly seems that the problem is monetary, even if SkyWi is claiming abuse of monopoly power. If SkyWi is short of cash and can’t raise more, perhaps the credit crisis is about to take down an ISP? Or is this dispute over the correctness of the bill itself, i.e. is SkyWi claiming that Qwest is overbilling in an effort to drive them out of business?  So far, it is hard to tell, if any readers know the details, please leave a comment!

Well whichever it is, the interruption in service is over, though the repercussions on SkyWi’s business probably aren’t.  Of course, Qwest acted knowing full well that it wouldn’t last long.  The New Mexico PRC held an emergency meeting and ordered Qwest to reconnect the company by the morning of New Year’s Day.  And presumably that happened, but the message Qwest was sending to customers of SkyWi had already been delivered so I doubt they were too fussed about it.  Now nothing will happen until Jan 13, when a decision is due on SkyWi’s request for a preliminary injunction against the disconnection. But all this of course is about maintaining the status quo until the billing dispute is resolved.

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Categories: ILECs, PTTs · Wireless

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6 Comments So Far

  • Tim says:

    Well this all sounds well and good, but I can say as of 11AM on Jan 2nd our service has not been restored. We have not been able to get thru to Oneconnectip or any of its people, except one, to help us. The one person who we have spoke with has just kept giving us false hope and broken promise after broken promise. We have been told by a Oneconnectip person that our service has been restored at least 10 times. This has not happened. We can’t continue to do business like this. We have contacted a different provider and they are installing today. We have given them all ample oppertunities to restore our services. They have not. We need phone service to run our business. Bottom Line.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Tim, ouch! Sorry to hear that your service is still down. Did you go with Qwest or an alternative competitive provider? Have you heard it is just you or are others in your area still down?

  • Vera says:

    Telcom disputes are a part of this business. You pay the undisputed amount and amicably resolve the disputed amount. With OneConnect/Zianet not paying the undisputed amount and not notifying their customers, I feel this is irresponsible. You have to be pretty hard up to hope a lawsuit will make your business stronger. By the time the dust settles, they’ll be lucky to have half their revenue. The good news is those customers they have left will be patient and understanding, likely to stay around when these guys screw up a second and a third time.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Vera, I agree, which is what prompts me to wonder why SkyWi took the risk. Did they really try to play a one-sided game of chicken with Qwest or are they short on cash and unable to access the credit markets?

  • Rob Powell says:

    It does seem that SkyWi’s connection did not come up on schedule. Let me know if it comes back online!

  • Vera says:

    I heard the Idaho stuff was restored Friday. New Mexico is mostly restored, from third-party reports.

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