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Struggling Dutch telco, KPNQwest, is advising its customers to put in place contingency plans with other providers in case its own network goes belly-up.

The warning comes as KPNQwest admitted that it still hadn't reached an agreement with a potential buyer concerning the future of the operation.

Last week the fibre-optic outfit filed for bankruptcy protection after the banks pulled the plug on the company's credit facility.

The collapse of the company led to speculation that unless a deal could be secured it would be forced to pull the plug on its network leaving its business customers stranded without network connectivity.

Those fears now appear to be all too real. In the statement the company said: "In the interest of maintaining customers’ business and network continuity, the company is advising customers that they may wish to put in place contingency plans with other providers in the event of a significant deterioration in the performance of the KPNQwest EuroRings network."

KPNQwest said its is working with its customers to help them put these emergency plans in place.

The administrators and the management board of KPNQwest also confirmed that they hadn't been able to find a buyer for the business but that negotiations will would continue.

It said: "The company also confirms that there are advanced discussions with parties interested in purchasing its Central European business on a stand-alone basis as a going concern."

However, any agreement is likely to take at least three to five weeks to be completed.

In the meantime, the company is looking to sell its non-critical assets, which should raise enough cash to keep the operation going in the immediate future.

It's hoped that this sale will be completed by close of play on Friday 31 May.

Earleir today shares in KPNQwest were suspended in Amsterdam pending today's announcement. ®

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