CSG Systems Inc. — which has tussled in court with AT&T Broadband — is now suing Comcast Corp. for allegedly interfering in that dispute.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Denver June 21, the billing provider seeks unspecified damages "for Comcast's illegal conduct and interference with the Master Subscriber Management System Agreement between CSG and AT&T Broadband." Comcast and AT&T Broadband are in the process of a merger.
In 1997, CSG signed a deal with Tele-Communications Inc. — AT&T Broadband's predecessor — to handle all cable and high-speed-data billing for the MSO through 2012. Broadband parent AT&T Corp. acquired TCI in 1999, and over the past two years, both AT&T and CSG have been in court over the deal.
In May, AT&T Broadband filed a demand for arbitration. In response, CSG filed a series of counterclaims. According to CSG, arbitration is pending under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association.
With Comcast about to take over A&T Broadband, the situation is getting more complicated.
In its complaint, CSG alleged that Comcast has leaked information to "manipulate" CSG's stock price and has made other moves to induce AT&T to terminate the contract.
Comcast declined comment on the CSG suit.
"Given the serious nature of this situation, CSG had no other choice but to call attention to Comcast's campaign of interference with a contract that has been in place since 1997 and to seek damages on behalf of CSG's shareholders," CSG senior vice president of corporate development and general counsel Joe Ruble said in a statement.
CSG maintains that its contract with AT&T Broadband requires Comcast to use CSG for AT&T's 8.5 million subscribers, "as well as all subscribers of Comcast's subsidiaries and affiliates," CSG said.
"Comcast is improperly attempting to avoid becoming bound by the CSG/AT&T Broadband contract and has enlisted AT&T Broadband in an illegal conspiracy in an attempt to unjustly terminate the agreement," CSG said.
CSG said the MSOs have leaked statements to industry analysts and market participants "that inaccurately describe the contract and CSG's rights."
CSG also claims that Comcast directed AT&T Broadband "to make plans to replace CSG with [competitor] Convergys [Corp.]."