RealTime IT News

Ebone Network Faces Shutdown

KPNQwest Wednesday starting shutting down its 10,000-kilometer Ebone network after a buyer wasn't found, according to reports.

While not all of bankrupt KPNQwest customers were affected, the partial shutdown threatens to slow European Internet connections, as Ebone traffic is re-routed.

Netherlands-based KPNQwest, a joint venture between KPN and Qwest Communications formed in 1998, provides Internet connections to more than 100,000 businesses in Europe with a 25,000-kilometer network. In May, suffering under a crushing debt load from over-expansion during the halcyon days for telecom, was declared bankrupt in May, when its creditors and shareholders declined to bail the company out of its debt obligations.

A consortium of European telecom companies runs KPNQwest's network while a permanent buyer is sought for various parts of the network.

In June, AT&T yanked its bid for KPNQwest, citing insufficient time for due diligence. Bidders are vying for various bits of the KPNQwest network, including Ebone, which serves major European cities.

Compounding the problem of KPNQwest's uncertain future, WorldCom's recent woes have raised fears about the fate of the other big Internet backbone provider in Europe, UUNet.

"We're particularly concerned with UUNet subsidiaries overseas with demise of KPNQwest," said Giga Information Group analyst Lisa Pierce.