Provider L2Networks Files Complaint against Georgia Company
A lawsuit has been filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by a Florida VoIP provider that is contesting a Georgia utility company’s theft-of-service complaint.
According to the complaint, L2Networks filed a net neutrality complaint with the FCC, the initial formal complaint to be filed since the FCC signed off on net neutrality rules less than two years ago. The City of Albany (Ga.) Water, Gas & Light Commission filed a theft-of-service complaint with the Dougherty County Police Department in Albany in early 2012.
According to a press release from L2Networks, Albany Water's claim that the VoIP provider should be charged money for access to its fiber-optic network violates the FCC's net neutrality rules prohibiting broadband network providers from selectively discriminating against Web-based content and service.
A spokesperson for L2Networks noted, “The real issue is the possibility that nearly any ISP can file a theft-of-service complaint if they feel another competitive application service provider intrudes upon their territory or simply wishes to remove such competition from the local marketplace."
L2Networks, which supplies voice and broadband service to approximately 2,250 business customers in southwestern Georgia, also filed a complaint against Albany Water with the Georgia Public Service Commission two months ago. The Georgia complaint also accuses Albany Water of for a period of time locking L2Networks employees out of a network facility leased from Albany Water while there were equipment issues inside the facility.
L2Networks purchases ethernet transport from Albany Water so it can serve its voice and Internet customers. The theft-of-service complaint is a result of one customer that uses L2Networks VoIP service over Albany Water's broadband service. L2Networks also provides IP transit services to Albany Water.
The L2Networks spokesperson added that “We are deeply concerned that the alleged claim could potentially change the landscape of the national internet marketplace as residential and commercial consumers see it today. The FCC’s report and order #10-201 was designed specifically to prevent these types of activities; however the manipulative use of the criminal legal system to create an anti-competitive environment and otherwise remove the local competition, is “far reaching” at best.”