Cox Las Vegas Sues Telco Over Ads

2/06/2010 2:00 AM Eastern

Cox Communications' Las Vegas division has sued CenturyLink, alleging the telco made false advertising claims about the cable operator's broadband service, as well as the pricing of its own DSL service.

In the federal lawsuit, Cox said a TV spot that CenturyLink (formerly Embarq) began running in Las Vegas in November 2009 included the claim, “Unlike Cox, it's [CenturyLink's DSL service] consistently fast no matter how many people are online.”

Cox said it is “patently false” for the telco to assert that cable-modem service is uniquely subject to congestion. “Cable and DSL Internet have more than one point in the network where customers' connections are aggregated, or 'shared,' prior to connecting to the Internet,” the cable operator said in its complaint.

In addition, Cox said, CenturyLink placed print ads with the tagline “100% Yours,” which the MSO asserts falsely implies DSL customers have an Internet connection that is never shared. Moreover, according to Cox, the telco ads claim 10-Mbps DSL service is available for $29.95 per month when in fact CenturyLink charges $54.95 per month for that tier of service.

In an e-mailed statement, CenturyLink spokeswoman Debra Peterson said, “CenturyLink is confident that its advertising complies with all applicable practices and laws. We intend to fully and vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

Cox declined to comment beyond its court filing, which said the MSO's lawyers had attempted to resolve the dispute with CenturyLink through several letters prior to bringing the complaint. The cable company is seeking unspecified monetary damages as well as an injunction to stop CenturyLink's ads.

Cox filed the lawsuit Jan. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The case is docket number 2:10-CV-00134.

In Las Vegas, according to Cox's complaint, the MSO's service-area nodes serve an average of 600 or fewer homes. Cox argues that DSL services, including CenturyLink's, provide only a dedicated connection to a DSL access multiplexer (DSLAM) beyond which the network is shared.

Cox Las Vegas in December launched Ultimate Internet, a DOCSIS 3.0-based service that provides up to 50-Mbps downstream speeds, priced at $119.99 per month for residential customers.

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