Maureen Coulter, an analyst at Gartner, said, "What is likely is that we will see the sale of fewer core parts of the network. The probability of finding one purchaser with the ability to buy the whole network is slim, making break-up likely.
"Customers, including those who buy network provision from customers of KPNQwest, need to have contingency plans in place to effect an instant switch over to another provider - enterprise customers should expect the worst. The longer you leave it, the more likelihood there is of queues to sign up with a new provider."
KPNQwest customers are not the only ones threatened by the likely shutdown of the network. All European Internet users face bottlenecks, with 30% of European capacity under threat.
At the time of going to press, KPNQwest's network faced shutdown when a key creditor threatened to withdraw rights to use software. The supplier, believed to be Alcatel, issued KPNQwest with an ultimatum - pay up c15m (£9.5m) or have the right to use network software withdrawn.