Digiweb broadband customers still cut off

20 Apr 2005

More than two and half days after their connection was first suspended, some 450 Digiweb customers are still without a broadband service. Their access was cut off on Monday morning after Luxembourg-based satellite service provider Satlynx suspended its feed to Digiweb amid accusations of contract breaches.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com this afternoon, a spokesperson for Digiweb, John Quinn, confirmed that the 450 businesses were still without service but that the company was “working tirelessly” to restore the connection. “We deeply regret the fact that 450 customers are without service. We want customers back online and their service up and running as soon as possible.” Quinn added that although the customers affected represented a relatively small percentage of Digiweb’s 10,000-strong customer base, a single service outage case “was one too many”. However, he was unable to say when the service would be restored.

Quinn was unwilling to comment on the nature of the dispute with Satlynx beyond saying that it was not to do with money. “All our accounts are up date,” he stated.

In January Digiweb was the biggest beneficiary of the Government’s €20m Broadband for Schools scheme when it won the contract to supply 1,428 schools in the State with broadband. Satellite technology would have been preferred technology for a proportion of these. Quinn said the dispute with Satlynx would not affect its ability to fulfil its contract, as Digiweb had planned to use another unnamed satellite broadband provider to connect the schools in question.

Meanwhile, rival broadband provider Pure Telecom has offered to help the 450 businesses affected by the dispute. The firm made the move after 22 of its own customers were left without web access following the collapse of the Digiweb/Satlynx agreement. Their internet service had come indirectly from Digiweb.

According to Pure Telecom’s managing director Paul Connell, Pure had already begun negotiating a direct service agreement with Satlynx last week and an agreement has now been signed. He said Pure is currently restoring the connection of all 22 of its satellite customers and would be offering to same service to the 450 unfortunate Digiweb customers involved. He said his company would offer Digiweb customers that sign up a 10 cent discount off Digiweb’s own rate card. “We can put them back on service within six hours and we’ll cost 10pc less than Digiweb,” he said.

Asked whether such a rapid response might be interpreted as predatory, Connell bluntly commented: “Our customers on this satellite service are going mad, they’ve not had service for three days, they want a solution. You might call me predatory but I’m turning around and saying [to Digiweb customers] I can get you back in operation and I can do it cheaper than Digiweb.”

By Brian Skelly