Personally, I blame Pacific Bell. A year ago business was thriving for Northpoint and Covad, who acted as wholesalers and contracted with ISPs to set up and maintain DSL connections. The wholesalers were required to rely on Pacific Bell for one phase of the work, though, and Pacific Bell used that as leverage to put them out of business. Pacific Bell underpriced its own DSL at a level the wholesalers couldn’t match, and gave Covad and Northpoint even worse service than it was giving its own customers. The wholesalers couldn’t compete. Northpoint filed for bankruptcy in January and Covad is struggling. Yesterday Northpoint announced a deal to sell most of its assets to AT&T – and with no warning to anyone, announced that its entire DSL network was about to be turned off. All Northpoint subscribers are at risk of having their DSL service go dead, while the ISPs scramble to find replacement service. Concentric/XO, MSN, Verio, and others were forced to send out messages today to their Northpoint subscribers saying the lights are going out and it might take weeks to make things right. It’s sad. (Especially since I have a Northpoint line and no obvious replacement.) Here’s an article with all the details.

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