MSO: Verizon Numbers Aren’t Porting Over

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Bright House Networks has lost 24% of its telephone-service signups in Tampa, Fla., through August because customers couldn’t get their numbers transferred from Verizon Communications Inc., according to a complaint filed with the state’s Public Service Commission.

Bright House claims Verizon refuses to port a number to the cable competitor, which has offered telephone service since June, unless that consumer also drops Verizon’s digital subscriber line service.

And consumers find they must make multiple calls to completely disconnect from DSL service, if they take that option.

The complaint, on Sept. 30, details experiences of one unnamed customer who tried for more than seven weeks to drop Verizon DSL in order to sign up with Bright House.

Most customers just cancel the cable order when Verizon tells them they’ll have to give up their e-mail addresses in order to shift their phone number, according to the complaint.

Bright House’s complaint is similar to one Time Warner Inc. (a minority owner of Advance/Newhouse Communications-controlled Bright House) voiced recently with the Federal Communications Commission.

Time Warner’s complaint was part of a docket begun by BellSouth Corp., which wants the FCC to order utility regulators to refrain from making orders compelling the telco to offer wholesale or retail broadband service.

Number-portability dockets are active before utility regulators in several states, including Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Providers that don’t own their own facilities complain they can’t sell services to customers unless the consumers drop all BellSouth products.

Those disputes include arguments over how to treat unbundled network elements — an area in which the FCC is still making policy.

Bright House, in contrast, is a facilities-based carrier, using infrastructure from MCI Inc. So Bright House is seeking help at the state level.

Bright House argues there’s no justification for linking two technologically and regulatorily different products and asks state regulators to order Verizon to immediately cease the practice.

A Verizon spokeswoman confirmed the company does not offer standalone advanced products.

“There are still operational and technological issues,” Verizon’s Bobbi Henson said. For instance, Verizon customers are billed for telephony and data on one bill.

A new billing system needs to be designed before the products can be unbundled.

Verizon hopes to offer standalone services by early next year, she indicated.

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