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08002go.com's David takes on BT's Goliath

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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 08002go.com, alleges it had a contract for BT to provide unmetered Net access.

However, 08002go.com 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 08002go.com has put aside £2.3 million to fight the case.

The unmetered product - which would have allowed 08002go.com 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 08002go.com, 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.

08002go.com 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. ®

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