Clear Net is admitting to customers that the boom in sign-ups for Clear's free ISP Zfree has hurt service levels, but says paying customers are still first in line.
While Clear Net's growth has stalled in the past year, Zfree is now claiming 80,000 customers.
Clear Net customer Doug Casement emailed the Clear Net helpdesk late last week complaining that "since the launch of Zfree, the service levels for paying customers have fallen to 'orrible levels," with frequent disconnections.
A reply said that due to "the overwhelming growth success of ZFree and Clear Net, Clear are experiencing some network issues primarily due to the available trunk connections with Telecom. The provisioning of these is Telecom's responsibility and the timing is entirely in their hands. However the additional circuits are being commissioned by Telecom as fast as possible.
"Unfortunately Clear Net customers who have always experienced excellent service, are now being affected. We are ensuring that wherever possible Clear Net customers will get priority access to the Clear network."
Clear spokesperson Rochelle Lockley confirmed yesterday that the additional circuits are currently being installed and that paying Clear Net customers have service priority.
She says that while there have been some complaints about a degradation of Clear Net service since the Zfree launch, "our engineering people have been a bit puzzled about them - they seem to be more perceived than real."
Lockley says a mail outage at Clear Net on Friday, which lasted several hours, was due to an overload of mail from bith ISPs and was not related to the shortage of trunk capacity.