Dial-up Provider Loses Net Access Amid Fee Dispute / Ruling

Dial-up provider loses Net access amid fee dispute Ruling favoring Verizon may hike price of service

By Keith Reed, Globe Staff

Service to thousands of dial-up Internet users in Massachusetts was disrupted this week after a federal court ruled against a Quincy company in a lawsuit that could have broad impact on the cost of dial-up service.

The US Court of Appeals in Boston ruled April 11 that Verizon Communications Inc. can charge per-minute fees for calls to local numbers that dial-up users need to connect to the Internet -- in much the same way that they charge for long-distance or other calls.

The ruling came after Verizon sued Global NAPs Inc., a Quincy company that supplies local numbers to 28 Internet service providers for use by their dial-up customers.

Verizon claims it is owed more than $65 million by Global NAPs. The court did not rule on damages, but Verizon cut off Global NAPs's access to its network, effectively shutting down Internet service for customers of dial-up providers like MegaNet of Fall River, which had to find another company to supply emergency connections for its approximately 7,500 dial-up subscribers.

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