Another flat-rate ISP bites the dust

Connect25 is the latest in a line of flat-rate ISP failures

Flat-rate Internet service provider Connect25 has ceased trading, leaving hundreds of angry customers in the lurch. The Leicestershire-based ISP, which offered unmetered Internet access for £12.95 a month, ceased trading on Wednesday and now faces possible liquidation.

Leicestershire Trading Standards office said it has received hundreds of calls from customers who lost their Internet access with no warning from the company. A Trading Standards representative said that despite early problems with the ISP, when a number of people had complained of not being able to sign on after making their initial £25.90 payment, there had been few complaints -- until today.

Connect25 is now proceeding towards liquidation, said a representative of insolvency firm Elwell, Watchorn and Saxton, which has been appointed to handle the proceedings.

"We're putting together a mailing that will be posted to Connect25 subscribers tomorrow," said the representative. He added that a creditors meeting has been scheduled for 2 May.

Connect25 is just the latest of several flat-rate ISPs to have problems. In January, Red Hot Ant stopped accepting new customers for its unmetered access service. At the time it blamed the freeze on confusion over the rollout of BT's unmetered package for ISPs, Friaco (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination).

And Breathe, one of the highest profile flat-rate ISPs, incurred the wrath of customers when it closed its service in December without notice. At the time, Breathe said unmetered access is no longer viable, but has since resumed trading with a £15-a-month service after a rescue package from Great Universal Stores (GUS), the owners of Argos.

The reasons for Connect25's failure are not clear, and the company could not today be reached for comment.

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