SkyWi getting further disconnections in New Mexico; FCC involvement next?

While Qwest may be the first phone company serving New Mexico to pull the plug on SkyWi and it subsidiaries, it will soon have company. Windstream, Tularosa Basin Telephone Company, Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative and E.N.M.R. Telephony Cooperative will shut down SkyWi services on March 9 due to SkyWi's failure to pay past due bills.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission may become involved with the SkyWi saga. Sources tell FierceTelecom that FCC representatives may be present at the New Mexico Public Regulations Commission (PRC) meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24, but it is not clear if they will be present in solely an observatory capacity, or if they may provide additional support to the New Mexico PRC. One source speculated that the FCC may delegate some of its authority to the state for number porting in order to expedite the move of telephony numbers from SkyWi onto other service providers; the FCC supposedly already permits this under some circumstances, such as "slamming" or "cramming" of phone number and services.

Another outcome of tomorrow's PRC meeting may be a temporary order to stop Qwest from terminating services to give customers and service providers more time to migrate off of SkyWi's network. Having all service providers synchronize their cut-offs on March 9 may not be what Qwest desires, but it may be in the best interests of both the PRC and New Mexico businesses and consumers affected by the situation.

Regardless, tomorrow's meeting in Santa Fe promises to be very interesting.

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