KPNQwest: Still no goal in extra time

The KPNQwest drama continues to the last minute, as customers wait for a lunchtime announcement on its future

KPNQwest customers are having to wait until the last minute to find if the network will be closed down today or kept operational for another two months. Administrator Eddie Meijer said on Tuesday morning, just hours before the deadline, that he still doesn't know if there is enough money. "On Monday we talked all night long with different parties. If everything is all right they are transferring the money right now," Meijer said to press agency ANP. But he doesn't know which way it's heading. The company originally planned to announce on Monday evening whether the network would be kept live or closed down, but it delayed the final answer until this afternoon. Even on Tuesday morning, however, it's still unclear if Europe's largest fibre-optic network will be kept running. In a rescue plan, the company asked customers to pay bills for May and June before Monday so there would be enough money for a skeleton staff to keep the network going. That would buy the customers some time to look to alternative providers, and would also make it more likely that the administrators could sell the network. A running network would be a better asset, according to the administrators, than a network that has been shut down. The largest shareholder and one of the founders of KPNQwest, KPN Telecom, has still to pay a debt to KPNQwest. A KPN spokesperson said the company is willing to pay this debt, although it is not clear whether this refers to the whole debt, sometimes reported as 23m euros (£16m), a figure disputed by some KPN sources. The company also declared that it is interested in buying parts of KPNQwest's network.

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