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Qwest sues Comcast over lack of access
The telecom says some Comcast customers have been unable to call Qwest to change providers. 
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer 
Denver Post 
Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Qwest strikes back.

Just more than two weeks after Comcast sued the Denver-based company for false advertising, Qwest is accusing the cable giant of preventing some of its digital-voice phone customers from calling Qwest in an effort to switch service.

Two residents in Washington and one in Oregon were unable to call Qwest's 800 service number through their Comcast digital phone service, Qwest alleges in letters sent to Comcast and copied to regulators and attorneys general in those states.

Comcast denies the allegations.

"Comcast absolutely does not block calls to Qwest or any other carrier," company spokeswoman Cindy Parsons said Tuesday.

Qwest said its technicians have verified the customers' complaints, though the company hasn't filed formal complaints with regulators.

Qwest wants this "anti-competitive behavior to stop," Qwest spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said.

The company, which provides local-phone service in 14 states, raised a similar complaint against cable operator Charter Communications in Minnesota in April.

The problem was caused by Qwest's failure to provide required codes for Charter to pass the calls through to Qwest operators, said Charter spokeswoman Anita Lamont.  The issue has since been resolved.

Phone and cable companies are in a heated battle to win residential phone, pay-TV and Internet customers.

Comcast has been able to add subscribers to its digital phone service in recent quarters while Qwest has suffered steady drops in residential phone customers.

On June 4, Comcast sued Qwest in Denver federal court for false advertising and unfair competition.  In print and TV ads that launched in May, Qwest touts a test in which "72 percent of Internet users said Qwest was as fast or faster than Comcast."

Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or avuong@denverpost.com.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_6180854