A SMALL Texas cable minnow is suing giant rival Comcast for allegedly sabotaging it out of business.
A lawsuit filed in Harris County District Court by Telecom Cable LLC claims that contractors working for Comcast had ‘destroyed' his underground cabling over a six week period.
Anthony Luna, the owner of the now-defunct company, had just 230 homes in his network, and in common with most cable companies had been working with exclusivity to his region until Comcast decided to expand to the Weston Lakes region which he served.
In an attempt to prevent any issues with the cable laying, Luna claims he marked his underground lines in orange paint and "buried cable" markers. He also says he emailed Comcast a map of the system.
However, the suit claims that Comcast's contractors, Aspen Utility Company, LLC and A&A Cable Contractors Inc ignored (or didn't receive) the warnings, and ripped up his cable network in the process of planting the Comcast lines.
It is alleged that Mr Luna was offered a purchase of his telecoms system at below market value, and when he refused, Comcast began planting its own system and then went rogue.
Luna is seeking compensation for the destruction of his entire business. He relocated his family to New York and "the best paying job he could find" but is earning less than he made from the cable network.
The suit claims, "Telecom attempted to keep up with this campaign of destruction and used over 4000 feet of cable repairing what Defendants had destroyed, but there was no way to obtain replacement cable and re-install its entire system in time to keep its customer base. As Comcast well knows, cable television and Internet customers will not wait indefinitely for resumption of their service."
It is believed that the vast majority of Luna's customers switched to the newly installed Comcast service. Comcast, already widely seen as a villain in tech circles, is accused of counts of various types of negligence, including gross negligence, aiding and abetting and civil conspiracy. It is denying all charges and has confirmed that it intends to fight Mr Luna all the way.
At a time when cable companies are already the bad guys because of the expected abolishing of net neutrality in the coming weeks, stories of supposed corporate bullying of mom and pop businesses are not a welcome sign of the shape of things to come. µ
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