On the afternoon of Thursday 23 August, some users of Ace Internet found themselves unable to use their broadband connections following a suspension of services to Ace Internet by its supplier Entanet. What followed was a war of words between the companies which looks to be continuing with Ace Internet issuing a detailed statement of its version of events.
"On Thursday 23rd August 2007, I had to attend an unrealated business meeting. I was out of the office from late morning to and just after 6PM. On exiting the meeting, I discovered my mobile phone had 17 missed calls from Entanet International and 4 answerphone messages asking me to contact them. Unfortunately, as it was past Enta's office opening hours, the person who had called had left for the day and I was unable to retun the call at that time.
On my return, I checked my email, I discovered an email from John Hutchinson (credit control manager at Enta) which was sent at 13.05 asking me to call him. At the same time we received a large number of "automated" emails from Enta corresponding to each of the accounts stating that access would be suspended within 48 hours and to contact them.
A further email at 14:13 stated that there was a payment issue with a Direct Debit, and unless I contact them at 15:30pm, connections would be blocked. I would like to stress that until this point, our account with Enta was completely up to date."Steve Daniels, Ace Internet
Ace claim that the Direct Debit should have been taken from their account early this week, not last week and that had this been done correctly, the account would have had the appropriate funds available.
The following day, Steve Daniels of Ace Internet spoke to various people within Entanet and they came to an agreement on partial payment for an invoice "just 24 hours overdue" which ensured Ace customers were re-connected and they would pick up on Tuesday morning to discuss the remaining issues. At this point, Ace also requested MAC codes to allow them to bulk transfer all their customers on Entanet based services to another provider, which according to Mr Daniels, Entanet refused until the account was settled in full.
"I made the payment to them to prevent our customer accounts from being suspended over the weekend, and we said that we would talk again on Tuesday to hopefully resolve the dispute."Steve Daniels, Ace Internet
On Friday afternoon, Ace received an e-mail stating Entanet's intentions to contact their customers directly to transfer billing to Entanet, to which they responded 'within a few minutes' informing Enta they were not giving permission for such a contact.
By Saturday morning, Ace Internet users started receiving letters in the post from Entanet advising them that it had been agreed that the billing process would be transferred from Ace Internet to Entanet and asking users to contact Entanet with their Direct Debit or Credit Card details by September 15th or risk disconnection.
"On Tuesday morning, [..] I spoke to James Blessing (COO of Enta), and he conformed that MAC codes would not be issued to our customers via us, although if one of OUR customers contact them directly, they would do so. [..]
A discussion with James, where I stated that neither ourselves or Enta are likely to come out of this situation well, he suggested that we state to our customers that we had made a "mistake" about the letters and it was no more than a simple breakdown in communication. I am however unwilling to lie to our customers about the matter just to cover Enta's reputation.
As things stand at the moment, we feel that talks have irretrievably broken down between Enta and ourselves, and have we have logged formal complaints with OFCOM and Trading standards about the situation, and in addition I have also today instructed my solicitor to look into the matter."Steve Daniels, Ace Internet
Ace Internet have in their statement alleged that Entanet's refusal to provide them with MAC codes is a breach of General Condition 22 which requires providers to issue MAC codes allowing migration from one service provider to another, regardless of any contractual disputes and instigated a complaint with Ofcom.
"There have been a number of inaccurate comments made on this forum (and others) relating to the commercial relationship between Entanet International Ltd (Entanet) and Ace Internet. It is our professional opinion that it is inappropriate for Entanet to comment on specific detail about this relationship on any open forum and we will not be drawn into such a discussion.
However, we would like to state our position with respect to the provision of MAC codes according to General Condition 22 in an effort to reassure End Users. Entanet has an outstanding reputation for ensuring that End Users are able to migrate if they so wish by providing a MAC code and we have every intention to maintain this reputation. We have therefore acted in accordance with General Condition 22 and are providing MAC codes within 5 working days of the original request. The earliest we are required to provide MAC codes to Ace Internet under GC22 therefore is Monday 3rd September 2007.
Ace Internet has stated that it is unable to offer End User customers technical support relating to Entanet ADSL services. Any End User requiring Entanet technical support can do so by calling 0870 224 3494 or emailing email@example.com. End Users can also request a MAC code by contacting Entanet Customer Services on 0870 777 4224 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recently wrote to all Ace Internet End User customers advising them that Entanet will be billing them directly in the future and asking them to contact us to set up a payment method. We would like to reiterate that they remain End User customers of Ace Internet.
Ace Internet End User customers should have confidence that they will receive Entanet's full co-operation regardless of whether they choose to receive their Internet service from Entanet or an alternative service provider."Entanet Statement
The one positive issue to come out of this is that whilst end users have indeed been affected last week, at this point in time it appears their Internet service remains up and they have a route to obtain support if they experience problems.
Related Articles: Ace Internet Service Problems (24/08/07)