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Internet Provider Sues Covad

February 15, 2001

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ An Internet service provider whose customers lost high-speed access last week when Covad Communications Inc. cut the connection fired back Wednesday by suing Covad.

Covad sells high-speed digital subscriber lines to Internet service providers, which in turn sell them to businesses and residential users. Last week, Covad unplugged two service providers, DSLnetworks and Internet Express, for failing to pay bills totaling millions of dollars.

The move left thousands of customers nationwide without DSL access.

In its lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, DSLnetworks contends that Covad has been calling, faxing and e-mailing many of its 3,500 affected customers and asking them to sign up for DSL service directly with Covad. In some cases, top Covad executives personally have been making the calls, said Dan Melmed, director of marketing at San Francisco-based DSLnetworks.

That violates nondisclosure clauses in the customers’ service agreements, and also is ``indicative of what Covad’s intentions were, which is to really take our customers away from us and take them directly,″ Melmed said.

The lawsuit asks that Covad be ordered to stop contacting DSLnetworks’ customers.

Covad spokeswoman Suluh Lukoskie said the company had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment. An Internet Express spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.

DSL technology vastly increases the data capacity of ordinary copper telephone wires. But Covad and competing DSL companies have been stung by their complicated partnerships with Internet service providers, service disruptions and installation delays in many areas.


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