BT blamed for CallNet collapse

Switch off the lines, ISP told

CallNet0800 -- the ISP that promises to deliver "no catch" toll-free access for Net users in Britain -- suspended telephone registrations within hours of going live this morning because too many people were trying to sign up to the service. Frustrated Net users who wanted to take advantage of the offer were left hanging in limbo as the scramble for toll-free access kicked off today with predictable chaos. Defending the company's decision to axe the line, a spokesman for the ISP said it pulled the wires on the advice of BT. And in a dig at the monster telco, CallNet0800 blamed BT for not being able to handle the demand. "At 8 o'clock this morning it went bananas," said a spokesman for CallNet0800. "Would-be users have been delayed in registering for CallNet0800 as British Telecom has been unable to handle the volume of calls to the freephone registration number." The spokesman advised users to email their requests for the software or to wait a couple of days before trying again. No one from BT was available to comment before press time. Despite today's phone farce foul-up, CallNet0800 remained upbeat. In a statement issued at lunchtime the company said: "The CallNet0800 concept of totally free Internet access has been thoroughly vindicated with thousands of users registering within minutes of the service launching at 0800 today. "Thousands of users are already using the Internet through Callnet0800 totally free of charge and our network is providing an excellent level of service and quality." These are big claims, very big claims indeed. Since the something-for-nothing ISP market in Britain is littered with the corpses of those whose promises have failed to deliver, CallNet0800 had better hope this little episode doesn't turn out to become its own worst nightmare. ® Related stories NAG to offer free calls for low income families 'No catch' 0800 access opens for UK business CallNet unveils bargain bin ISDN

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