Liquidators switch KPNQwest network back on

The abandoned network of bankrupt KPNQwest went online again yesterday after staff left it in limbo late last week before...

The abandoned network of bankrupt KPNQwest went online again yesterday after staff left it in limbo late last week before shutting it down on Wednesday.

"The liquidators have apparently requested for a small skeleton staff to be placed in the network operations centre," KPN spokesman Bram Oudshoorn said.

KPN is one of KPNQwest's co-founders and was a major customer before KPNQwest was declared bankrupt in May and users abandoned the network.

A group of phone companies led by KPN paid to keep the KPNQwest network up for part of June and three weeks into July.

The funding ended last Friday when staff at the network operations centre in The Hague walked out, leaving the network running. It was shut down on Wednesday, only to be turned on again a day later.

Swathes of the KPNQwest network have been sold off at fire-sale prices since the bankruptcy. KPN has bid on part of the network that runs through the northwest of Europe.

The bid is for an intact network, which may explain why the liquidators opted to turn the lights back on at KPNQwest, said Oudshoorn.

Earlier this month, KPNQwest employees pulled the plug on the Ebone network, which was run from Brussels and was independent of the rest of the KPNQwest network. Most of Ebone's assets have since been acquired by Interoute Communications of London.

Talks on the sale of remaining parts of the KPNQwest network continue, but with the customers gone, insiders are not expecting a deal soon.

KPNQwest's network was once Europe's largest with 25,000km of fibre-optic cable spanning 18 countries. Customers were given about six weeks to find an alternative service provider, which KPNQwest even advised them to do.

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