Monday, June 23, 2008

LinkLine vs PacBell in Anti-Trust

Supreme Court [finally] To Investigate If AT&T Is Violating Antitrust Laws With Wholesale DSL Pricing

TechDirt writes about the Supreme Court deciding to accept the Appeal of PacWest (now called AT&T) in its anti-trust battle with an ISP named LinkLine.

"A series of lawsuits followed, including an appeals court ruling that found that AT&T was abusing monopoly rights to offer prices that were simply out of line with market pricing -- making it effectively impossible for any other provider to compete. AT&T has appealed and now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. This could be very important, as it could force a company like AT&T, which relies on these government granted rights of way, to offer up access to their network to potential competitors who could offer more reasonably priced services. This also could have a major impact on both the overall competitiveness of broadband in the US as well as network neutrality -- since having more competition would make it harder for AT&T and others to violate net neutrality.

The crux of the matter is that "The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled against AT&T, saying the telecom company was setting its wholesale prices so high that the Internet service provider could not compete with the low prices AT&T charged in the retail market. The appeals court said that federal courts have recognized such price squeeze allegations for six decades. [Yahoo]

We have been here before, circa 2005. FISPA, WBIA, and others rallying to fight forbearance at the FCC on DSL and the Supreme Court ruling of Brand-X vs. Cable over access to cable modems. Spin ahead and the ISP groups lost both battles. Now 2008 the Anti-Trust lawsuit winds its way to the Supremes and Cable is welcoming ISP's on its networks.

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