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Bazillion shafts DSL users

US ISP shuts shop with days' notice

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US ISP Bazillion.com has shut up shop after running out of funds.

The Seattle-based venture, which offered a DSL service across most of the US, sacked most of its 100 staff on Thursday, sources told The Register.

And the 5000 customers, who paid a monthly fee of around $40 each for the high-speed Net access, found out about the move just days before the service was shut off. Today the Web site link was dead and office phones unanswered.

"As you may know there have been significant problems in the DSL and ISP marketplaces which have been well publicized," punters were told. "Additionally, the financial markets [sic] support of new competing telecommunications companies has become much tighter over the past six months."

Bazillion users were urged to contact covad.net or speakeasy.net to get connected via another ISP.

"I wish they could have given users a little more warning. I need to find a new ISP, so I'm going to be without Internet access for as long as it takes whoever I choose to hook it up. That could take a month or two," said David Jacobs, one disgruntled ex-Bazillion user.

The company's CEO was Jamie Howard, former president and CEO of excite@home's European broadband venture, @Home Benelux.

Todd Achilles, former Bazillion network director, said he found the way company heads handled the shutdown "extremely disappointing". "It was a conscious decision to leave the message to the customers to the last minute," he said.

He went on to say that Bazillion's collapse was typical of what was going on in the DSL market - that there were too many links in the chain, and the only outfits making money out of the service were the local phone companies. They take their cut before the DSL "resellers", such as covad.net, and ISPs like Bazillion, can charge for their services.

Bazillion could not be contacted today for comment. ®

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