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ISPs exchange blows in FRIACO row

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A row has broken out between two ISPs after Basingstoke-based Cloud Nine branded the UK's wholesale unmetered Net access service, FRIACO, a "national disgrace".

On Friday, Cloud Nine called for an explanation from BT as to why one in five of its users were experiencing problems with the service.

However, in a statement, Sheffield-based ISP PlusNet expressed surprise at the "vitriol" of Cloud Nine's comments and said it had not experienced the same level of problems as Cloud Nine.

Said Alistair Wyse, product and services director of PlusNet: "Whilst we of course sympathise with any ISP that is experiencing service affecting problems of this scale, we simply cannot agree that FRIACO is anything but a resounding success as far as PlusNet is concerned

"We simply are not seeing any such level of problem to our unmetered services but rather the opposite, receiving many, many compliments and testimonials in both public discussion forums and directly from our user base," he said.

Yesterday, Cloud Nine jumped on these comments alleging that PlusNet's rosy view of Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination (FRIACO) simply does not stack up.

In a press release, Cloud Nine said: "We must express a degree of surprise ourselves at the response from PlusNet to our statements on the FRIACO service.

Taking a swipe at the Sheffield-based ISP, Cloud Nine said: "PlusNet have worked very hard to restore their credibility after their poorly handled user cut-off earlier in the year and there are no doubts that they have made improvements to their product line.

"We understand that they are trying to continue to provide the impression of improvement but their statement that 'PlusNet are simply not experiencing this kind of problem at all' simply does not square with service announcements on their own public status pages," it said.

A spokesman for PlusNet was somewhat dismayed at the attack and declined to be drawn into a tit-for-tat slanging match.

Instead, he explained that PlusNet issued its statement in support of FRIACO to "counter the negative impact" of Cloud Nine's outburst.

"We think FRIACO is a reliable, good value service," said a PlusNet spokesman.

"We're happy with FRIACO and have certainly had nothing like the problems that have affected Cloud Nine," he said. ®

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