Geeky Phone News

I think something bad just happened in MA. Let’s see if I can get this straight. The details may be off, but the spirit is correct:

My friend owns a company which does business in MA. His business has their phone connection through a company called Global NAPS. Global NAPS makes a living bringing bundles of fiber and phone connections to businesses. They’re large, they’re nationwide.

Gnaps has a contract with Verizon to route calls out into the rest of the world. If a call has to go through a partner network (like Verizon is to Gnaps), then the originator (gnaps) pays a “destination fee” to the “edge-partner” (Verizon).

Got all that? Gnaps owns the wires that end at my friend’s business. He pays Gnaps to connect him to the world. In order to get on the wider network, Gnaps pays Verizon a small amount for every time that they actually use their network.

Verizon turned to Gnaps recently and said “hey, you know what? Some of your customers are probably accessing the internet through your connections. Since they’re connecting to the internet, their “destination” is actually far enough away that it’s long distance, and in all likelihood they’re using our network at some point there. I.e: the “call” is terminating outside of your network (like on the google servers or something). Therefore, you owe us destination fee for every single call.”

“Suck on that!” they did not add.

Gnaps said “ummm, no. We already pay for the edge connections that we actually use.”

Verizon said “okay then, here’s a lawsuit demanding that you pay us.”

Gnaps went to court and and somehow managed to lose the initial case. This is stunning to me, but comprehensible.
They filed an appeal to the feds, and a watchdog agency smelled the bullshit in the air and remanded the case to the federal level … since it involves service to clients beyond MA. Go Gnaps.

Somehow, and this is the serious dark magic, Verizon convinced a Mass appellate judge to un-remand the case back down to his desk. In the same opinion he said “no seriously Gnaps, you lost. You now owe Verizon $54 million in legal fees.”

Verizon upped the ante, saying: “And if you don’t pay by Thursday at noon, we’ll stop carrying your traffic, sucker.”

So at this point, my friend’s phones will go dead (for long distance) at noon on Thursday, because Verizon decided to extort some money from Gnaps, and Gnaps tried to fight it. He’s screwed, Gnaps is screwed. Verizon owns enough judges to get them to (and I still don’t get this part) un-remand decisions back from the federal level and slap fines on top of earlier decisions.

Your tax and long distance dollars at work.

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