Comcast Accused Of Severing Small Competitor’s Cable Lines To Bury Its Business

Google’s motto previously was “Don’t be evil” but it seems as though Comcast might need to take up that slogan soon. Telecom Cable, a small ISP in Texas, is claiming that Comcast resorted to outright sabotage to cripple its business in 2015.

According to a lawsuit [PDF] filed in Harris County, Texas, Telecom Cable alleges that Comcast retaliated against it by destroying its networking infrastructure in the Weston Lakes community. The suit claims that Comcast and its contractors destroyed Telecom Cable’s lines despite the fact that they were clearly marked (above ground) with orange paint and “buried cable” flags.

Telecom Cable co-owner Anthony Luna had even mailed Comcast a map of its network infrastructure to the company’s Tidwell, Texas office. This, however, wasn’t enough to stop the destruction of Telecom Cable’s key networking lines. What makes the matter even more perplexing that as Telecom Cable worked to repair its cut lines, Comcast’s crews allegedly continued to re-cut them.

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“Within six weeks, Defendants destroyed or damaged the lines servicing every single Telecom customer in Weston Lakes, and not one of those lines was ever repaired by Defendants,” the suit alleges.

In total, Telecom Cable had to repair 4,000 feet of lines that were allegedly damaged by Comcast. More detrimental to the company’s business, however, is the fact that it lost customers due to the continued service interruptions.

“There was no way to obtain replacement cable and re-install its entire system in time to keep its customer base,” the complaint continues. “As Comcast well knows, cable television and Internet customers will not wait indefinitely for resumption of their service. Predictably, Telecom’s customers deserted it”.

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The first signs of line damage occurred on June 15th, 2015 and by August 1st, 2015, Telecom Cable had lost all of its customers in Weston Lakes. Once Weston Lakes was lost, the rest of Telecom Cable collapsed as the company was no longer able to provide service to its customers in Corrigan, Texas. Telecom Cable lost all 229 of its customers, and was forced to shutter its business.

You might ask, why would Comcast allegedly take all of these steps to sabotage such a small company? Well, according to Telecom Cable, Comcast attempted to buy out its business in 2013, but “Comcast was not willing to pay what Telecom’s operations were worth and negotiations ended.”

However, when Telecom Cable’s business folded, Comcast was able to capture all 229 of its customers at minimal cost.

Telecom Cable’s owners, Anthony and Michelle Luna, are seeking to recover the value of their business (before the sabotage took place) — $1.8 million — and exemplary damages that could "amount to a maximum of twice the amount of economic damages, plus up to $750,000 of non-economic damages.”

As of this morning, Comcast has not commented on the lawsuit.

(Image Source: flickr/Aaron Hockley)


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