Eschelon Telecom said Monday that it filed a complaint with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission against Qwest Communications International. Eschelon claims that Qwest is violating a connection agreement that the two companies signed by overcharging the upstart carrier by $140,000 since March 2001. The complaint asks the PUC to enforce the deal between the two companies, a deal that the state regulator previously approved. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 states that incumbent local carriers like Qwest must open their local networks to other phone companies to increase competition and consumer choice.
Feuds between dominant phone companies and new competitors have become common as Baby Bell carriers like Verizon Communications and SBC Communications have come under fire for various issues related to connection deals. Qwest said in a statement that it is charging a rate consistent with both PUC regulations and its agreement with Eschelon.