Broadband Bytes: February 7-13, 2009

Congress passed the broadband portions of the stimulus package and just barely dodged some really nasty provisions while the DTV delay looks less than crystal clear. We’ve also seen Qwest’s abuse of monopoly power to shut down a rival ISP, both good and bad economic news (including Charter’s bankruptcy) and Fairpoint’s big bucket of fail in taking over Verizon assets in rural New England. All this and more in this week’s Broadband Bytes!

Is Frontier Blowing Smoke on LNP?

After posting that Frontier Communications was giving competing telcos a hard time with porting numbers, commenter Aaron Wilcox, the Utah Account Manager for Frontier, advised that Frontier would be more than happy to port numbers given the proper paperwork was filed with the Utah Public Services Commission. At least one service provider called bunk on that claim citing that under current telecommunications law, the Utah PSC doesn’t issue the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity that Aaron refers to if the service area in question has less than 5,000 lines. Documents I received from the PSC indicated that they suspended LNP waivers for rural telecoms, but those documents only reference wireline-to-wireless transfers, not wireline-to-wireline.

So which is it? Can customers in Tremonton port their numbers or does Frontier have those numbers permanently locked down? Is the suspension of the wavier a boon only to wireless companies? Could customers get their phone number to a UTOPIA provider by transferring to a wireless carrier and then porting the number again? It sounds like Frontier has been taking advantage of the current regulatory structure and resulting confusion to keep customers locked into their service.