Telecom plays hardball with Manawatu ISP

Telecom denies being responsible for the US-based network provider AboveNet blocking email to Manawatu Internet Services - and has threatened legal action if MIS says it is.

Telecom denies being responsible for the US-based network provider AboveNet blocking email to Manawatu Internet Services - and goes so far as to threaten legal action if MIS says it is.

"Telecom/Xtra would vigorously defend any legal action as we believe MIS's allegations to be baseless. We would also act if defamatory statements were made by MIS," says Telecom.

MIS accuses AboveNet of blocking its email traffic from Europe and of filtering email bound for MIS based on content. AboveNet denies it is doing this, but MIS director George Annear believes he has evidence that suggests AboveNet is filtering email in an attempt to block traffic from the ORBS open-relay blacklist testing facility in Europe.

ORBS, a customer of MIS, is a blacklist of servers which are open rather than closed and can be used by spammers to hide their tracks. Both MIS and AboveNet have similar policies about spam and both champion the anti-spam fight. Both Telecom and AboveNet have been listed on the ORBS database for operating open-relay servers.

AboveNet claims MIS is "act[ing] in breach of AboveNet's acceptable usage policy", according to Telecom's statement. AboveNet would not discuss the matter as it has a policy of not commenting on ongoing customer relations issues, says AboveNet co-founder, Dave Rand. But Annear says he has made no allegations against Telecom or Xtra, has no contract with AboveNet and so cannot breach its "acceptable usage policy" and refutes Telecom's assertion that the impact on MIS is negligible.

"Is it negligible to have emails taking eight to 10 days to come through? I could fly to Britain, print off the email, fly home and hand them out in less time than that."

Annear does accept that Telecom is not directly responsible for the loss of the email, and has never alleged that it is, but says as his contract is with Telecom. "The only people we can complain to are our supplier of services, which is Xtra. It's up to Xtra to complain on to AboveNet."

Telecom's statement goes on to invite MIS to "seek an alternative provider", other than Telecom and says Telecom would "be happy to facilitate a smooth transition", which Annear laughs at. "I have an obligation to my customers in the same way Telecom has an obligation to me and they are not fulfilling it."

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