Web threat as KPNQwest totters on brink

Europe's largest data network could struggle on, despite being threatened with collapse yesterday (19 June).

Europe's largest data network could struggle on, despite being threatened with collapse yesterday (19 June).

Trustees of KPNQwest, the bankrupt pan-European fibre-optic network, threatened to close the network down unless customers came up with funds to pay operational costs.

News agency reports suggest that that extra funds have now been found to keep the system running for several more days. This will provide a short-term safeguard for companies that have been unable to find another network provider.

However, the bankrupt company has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past week. KPNQwest's Belgian E-bone operation won a temporary reprieve when staff who had threatened to switch off the system were paid.

KPNQwest supplier Alcatel is also in negotiations with the company on terms to allow the continued use of its software.

If KPNQwest does not find a buyer before the end of the month, Europe could face the shutdown of a third of its optical fibre capacity. This would have a knock-on effect on corporate data flows across the continent.

Data traffic to parts of eastern Europe could be severely hampered because KPNQwest provides the sole network link, which is then used by other network providers.

Analysts warned KPNQwest customers looking to move to new suppliers should check the data-sharing arrangements of any new ISP.

What to do in the face of an ISP meltdown >>

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