ISP Association Calls for Emergency Hearing on Internet Blackout

California Running Out of Competitive Options



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from California Internet Service Providers Association

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Internet Service
 Providers Association filed a pleading today requesting that the California
 Public Utilities Commission hold an emergency hearing to examine how telephone
 companies can help restore Internet service to 40,000 customers online.
     "Internet and telecommunications competition is in jeopardy in
 California," said Andrew Ulmer an attorney with MBV Law in San Francisco,
 which represents the California Internet Service Providers Association.  "We
 owe it to consumers to sit down and develop a plan to get them back online.
 Since it's generally large phone companies who will be flipping the final
 switch that kicks consumers off the Internet, they need to be part of that
 conversation."
     Over the last four days, a number of Internet service providers operating
 in California, including members of CISPA, have been working with NorthPoint
 to restore service for DSL end users.  Now, it appears that the only way to
 keep consumers online will be to enlist the cooperation of companies like
 Pacific Bell, Verizon, WorldCom, Level 3 and AT&T who actually carried the DSL
 traffic for NorthPoint.
     Stock prices for competitive DSL providers such as Covad Communications
 and Rhythms Netconnection have dropped an average of 97 percent over the last
 year.  NorthPoint laid-off 500 employees last week and cut service to an
 estimated 100,000 consumers nationwide, including 40,000 Californians.  The
 Bear Stearns index of competitive telephone companies shows that their stock
 prices are down 73 percent since the start of 2000.
     "Consumers, Internet service providers and competitive phone companies all
 have an interest in keeping competition alive in California," said Ulmer.
 "Before we charge ahead with telecommunications deregulation, we need to stop
 and examine the consequences."
     Monopoly phone companies, like Pacific Bell and Verizon, want permission
 to enter California's long-distance market but must first prove there is
 healthy competition in the state.  Roughly 97 percent of all local phone
 traffic -- Internet or otherwise -- still flows across the monopoly phone
 companies' infrastructure.
     ISPs seek competitive options because monopoly phone companies, who also
 offer DSL, have a vested interest in cornering the market.  According to ISPs,
 the big companies, like SBC Communications have hampered their ability to
 offer DSL by delaying service, denying service, slashing the price of DSL,
 poaching customers and creating billing disputes.
     SBC Communications had cut its price for retail DSL last year by $10, a
 move which left many smaller competitor gasping for air.  SBC Communications
 hiked its prices back up in February 2001 following the near collapse of the
 competitive DSL industry.
 
 

SOURCE California Internet Service Providers Association
    SAN FRANCISCO, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Internet Service
 Providers Association filed a pleading today requesting that the California
 Public Utilities Commission hold an emergency hearing to examine how telephone
 companies can help restore Internet service to 40,000 customers online.
     "Internet and telecommunications competition is in jeopardy in
 California," said Andrew Ulmer an attorney with MBV Law in San Francisco,
 which represents the California Internet Service Providers Association.  "We
 owe it to consumers to sit down and develop a plan to get them back online.
 Since it's generally large phone companies who will be flipping the final
 switch that kicks consumers off the Internet, they need to be part of that
 conversation."
     Over the last four days, a number of Internet service providers operating
 in California, including members of CISPA, have been working with NorthPoint
 to restore service for DSL end users.  Now, it appears that the only way to
 keep consumers online will be to enlist the cooperation of companies like
 Pacific Bell, Verizon, WorldCom, Level 3 and AT&T who actually carried the DSL
 traffic for NorthPoint.
     Stock prices for competitive DSL providers such as Covad Communications
 and Rhythms Netconnection have dropped an average of 97 percent over the last
 year.  NorthPoint laid-off 500 employees last week and cut service to an
 estimated 100,000 consumers nationwide, including 40,000 Californians.  The
 Bear Stearns index of competitive telephone companies shows that their stock
 prices are down 73 percent since the start of 2000.
     "Consumers, Internet service providers and competitive phone companies all
 have an interest in keeping competition alive in California," said Ulmer.
 "Before we charge ahead with telecommunications deregulation, we need to stop
 and examine the consequences."
     Monopoly phone companies, like Pacific Bell and Verizon, want permission
 to enter California's long-distance market but must first prove there is
 healthy competition in the state.  Roughly 97 percent of all local phone
 traffic -- Internet or otherwise -- still flows across the monopoly phone
 companies' infrastructure.
     ISPs seek competitive options because monopoly phone companies, who also
 offer DSL, have a vested interest in cornering the market.  According to ISPs,
 the big companies, like SBC Communications have hampered their ability to
 offer DSL by delaying service, denying service, slashing the price of DSL,
 poaching customers and creating billing disputes.
     SBC Communications had cut its price for retail DSL last year by $10, a
 move which left many smaller competitor gasping for air.  SBC Communications
 hiked its prices back up in February 2001 following the near collapse of the
 competitive DSL industry.
 
 SOURCE  California Internet Service Providers Association