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Apples & Oranges

Jeff Baumgartner

RCN Corp. SVP of strategic external affairs & programming Richard Ramlall would like to clarify a few things when it comes to the allegations flying around about how Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is impeding cable operators from signing on new phone subs, and how cable operators are keeping Verizon from adding new video subs. (See Tit for Tat , Verizon Asks FCC for FiOS Help, and MSOs Sue Verizon.)

He argues that evaluating the two is like "comparing apples and oranges."

"In the telephone business, the only way that a customer's local phone number can switch from one provider to another is for the two providers to interact in the number hand-off process established by the FCC," Ramlall explains in note to Cable Digital News, referencing the official complaint RCN lodged against Verizon on Feb. 29, 2008. "Verizon does not have to depend on RCN or any other cable provider to install its FiOS video service for a customer, so its petition should be taken for what it is – a smokescreen to mask the fact that there is no defense to its telephone retention marketing tactics."

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) called Verizon's complaint a "fairy tale," so at least everyone is getting high marks for creativity.

In the interest of fairness, Verizon has denied any wrongdoing, finding it "hard to believe that cable companies would attempt to block consumers from receiving information about additional services and lower prices."

So, big surprise, everyone's sticking to their own flavor of Kool-Aid (do they make it in apple flavor?), and nobody believes what they're doing is wrong or illegal. Ain't competition grand?

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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