CallNet reconnected after emergency talks

CallNet refuses to say die and Cable & Wireless issues last minute reprieve

Beleaguered unmetered pioneer CallNet is set to get up and running again after holding emergency talks with teleco Cable & Wireless, which has agreed to reconnect the ISP having reached a "commercial agreement".

Cable and Wireless pulled the plug on CallNet's Internet service Wednesday after the company failed to pay its debts. However, both CallNet and Cable & Wireless say that service will shortly be resumed.

"We have reconnected CallNet," says a Cable & Wireless spokesman. "Having held further discussions we've come to a commercial agreement." The spokesman estimates that CallNet's Internet service will be up and running again, "definitely today, probably within the hour."

CallNet's recently appointed chief executive Gerard Farley says disconnecting the service was regrettable but is delighted to be back in business. "Obviously it is very upsetting and concerning. The good news is that the service will be resuming."

CallNet was one of the first ISPs to offer a completely free Internet service and many of its troubles have been blamed on its business model which relied on users dialling a prefix for subsidies to support unmetered calls. The service suffered outages shortly after launch, crippled by sheer demand. Other ISPs have since withdrawn unmetered services claiming that they are unsustainable under BT's Friaco wholesale offering.

The senior management of CallNet was restructured in August by the parent company World CallNet.

To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Take me to the Unmetered Access Special