ISP sues BT for £37m's David takes on BT's Goliath

A little-known ISP is suing BT for £37 million for alleged breach of contract.

A writ was served in the High Court on December 14 and although BT has asked for an extension, the case is expected to be heard in early January.

Manchester-based, Zone Corporation, which trades as, alleges it had a contract for BT to provide unmetered Net access.

However, claims BT pulled out of the deal earlier this year - leaving the fledgling ISP high and dry.

It is a sign of its confidence in its case that has put aside £2.3 million to fight the case.

The unmetered product - which would have allowed to offer 24/7 unmetered Net access for just £5.83 a month - was not based on BT's SurfTime product or its wholesale unmetered equivalent, FRIACO.

Dennis Cawley, MD of, told The Register: "Three times BT said it would provide unmetered Net access - and then we got a call to say the deal was off.

"They couldn't tell us why," he said.

Cawley still doesn't know why BT pulled out.

He said the figure of £37 million was based on loss of revenue and interest.

Despite its troubles, the ISP has not been put off by its experience. It intends to offer a 24/7 unmetered service from the end of January 2001 with another, as yet, unnamed telco. It already has 720,000 users signed up for the service, said Cawley, although he has a limit of a million users.

A spokeswoman for BT said the monster telco would be defending the claim "vigorously".

She also disputed the amount of damages involved, saying it was nearer £500,000. threatened legal action against BT back in the summer and despite negotiations to settle amicably, Cawley said he was left with no option but to take legal action against BT. ®

Sponsored: Magic Quadrant for identity governance and administration