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Independent Networks - Working toward a solution
Monday 29 December 2003 22:50:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Ten days ago, we reported of the demise of Independent Networks (IN) leaving hundreds of users of the LLU provider stranded just before Christmas affecting users on the Leominster, Bredon Hill and Overybury exchanges. Pro-Net, one of the key suppliers to IN including providing the Internet transit and IP address space as well as being one of only two ISPs (with Three-K) to sell the service is not very happy:

"We were caught out by the Administration of Independent Networks and were not informed by the Administrators or Directors of the situation. We are working closely with Advantage West Midlands and BT to resolve this issue and get the users back on-line as soon as possible.

We can assure all the users who have lost service that we are doing everything in our power to rescue the situation. I have given these users my personal word that they will not be left in the cold. I would like to offer a personal word of thanks to all those users I have spoken to for the understanding and backing we have received. Its amazing how nice people can be if spoken to and given the relevant information and truth. I have made myself available to anybody in the affected areas . If you need an update or just a moan, call me on 020 8200 3565. I would ask you to contact me after the Christmas period as this is the latest information I have"

Danial Subhani (Managing Director), Pro-Net

Pro-Net said they contacted BT with an offer of underwriting the remaining number of connections needed to reach the trigger levels so that the exchange could be enabled by BT Wholesale. This would mean Pro-Net paying for about two hundred connections across the three exchanges. Pro-Net however said that BT was concerned that Oftel were going to block such a move until the administrators could see if IN could be purchased. In response, a BT spokesman said "I understand a number of options are being explored in relation to the service provided by Independent Networks and would not wish to potentially prejudice the outcome by commenting further at this stage."

Also affected by IN problems was Three-K who provided services to many of the residential customers. Since yesterday, a notice on their website had been posted:

Important Announcement
Due to a technical problem within our broadband providers network,  we are currently unable to provide internet access accross our broadband gateway. We have been assured by our network provider that these problems will be rectified in the next 48 hours. As a result Three-K's management team is currently looking at compensation for the loss of service during this period for our customers. We would like to apologise for any inconveinience caused and hope for a speedy resolution from our provider.

Notice posted to users on Three-K website (23/12/03)

What the notice (which has been up for almost a week) neglects to mention is that Three-K is in fact very closely related to IN with the domain even being registered to Independent Networks and operating from the same address in Coventry not to mention having common directors. It has been suggested to us that the administrators are talking to a potential buyer of Independent-Networks Ltd. leaving us wondering whether this could be Independent-Networks (UK) Ltd., a company incorporated on 13 November 2003 by one of the directors of IN only days after indications one of their key suppliers started the process of terminating services. Any potential buyers can find more information here.

Regardless of the corporate company shuffling, residential users should also be encouraged to hear that Eclipse Internet is looking at assisting the home users left behind and is working with a local campaigner in the Bredon Hill area to try and push for the area to be upgraded by BT Wholesale, although no further details are yet available. [seb]

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