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Updated: Struggling ISP Pipex is closing UK call centres serving subscribers to Bulldog, the broadband provider it bought from Cable and Wireless last year.

Staff at Bulldog's UK outsourcers were told last week their services will no longer be needed in 90 days' time. Last month, we revealed that Pipex would be cutting back its in-house customer service operation.

When we called the Bulldog technical support line this morning, an agent dodged the question of where the service would go, until eventually denying that support would be offshored.

Pipex refused to offer up a similar denial, and wouldn't address our questions about why customers were being told categorically that technical support would stay in the UK.

In a statement, it said: "Pipex has no plans to reduce the level of support for customers with a Bulldog service nor has it any plans to change the way that the customer can contact the support teams."

Which boils down to: "It'll be the same phone number." Bulldog has an extremely checkered history on customer service.

This news will do little to build confidence in Bulldog's recovery, or in Pipex's broader strategy. Bankers recently failed to find a buyer for Pipex's 570,000-strong customer base.

Pipex sent us the following statement from Dominic Crolla, managing director of Pipex's residential division: "We are not planning to offshore and will continue to offer one of the best and fastest connections in the UK supported by UK staff."®

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