The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the company is telling them that if they dare sign a deal with another communications company (like cable) to provide services in their development, then BellSouth will never, ever, ever "provision" that neighborhood with phone lines.
According to the paper, developers are taking this nonsense seriously.
When we opened our sales center, the carrier we chose had not yet installed lines," said Rick Mildner, chief operating officer for the developer (a project called Tributary at New Manchester)
"Even though the BellSouth line went right by, they declined to provide service. When I called, they basically said, 'Well, sue us.' "
Does this matter? Very much. You've heard of taxation without representation? How about taxation without service?
If a phone company is unable to accept the "universal service" obligations written into the law, how dare they accept Universal Service Funds! If you're not willing to be the "Carrier of Last Resort," then let others in on that pie. There are certainly many carriers who would be happy for the subsidy.
Here's the irony. This is happening just a month after the FCC ruled that USF taxes
must increase, and that Bell competitors offering Voice Over Internet
Protocol (VOIP) services must pay into the fund. Further extensions and expansions of this tax, which have only benefitted the Bells, are in the works. And the current bill before the Senate would forbid municipalities from competing in the network business.
What is idiotic is that no one connects the dots. End the USF, now. The Bells aren't willing to agree to the deal under which that tax is imposed, so they should not be allowed the benefits.
Think about it. This is what Ted Stevens wants to create. An unregulated monopoly for local Internet service, no choice for consumers, and taxes paid to the monopolist without the consequent responsibility to spend the money.
This is classic fascism. Ted Stevens, elected as a conservative 34 years ago, has morphed into a classic fascist.