Clear rejects claims of lost IP custom

Clear Communications is hotly denying its international IP business is losing customers over alleged pricing or service failures, and says the business is actually growing. Spokesman Ross Inglis says the service has added one large regional ISP in the last two months and is close to sealing deals with several more.

Clear Communications is hotly denying its international IP business is losing customers over alleged pricing or service failures, and says the business is actually growing.

Marketing communications manager Ross Inglis says the service has added one large regional ISP in the last two months and is close to sealing deals with several more.

Craig Anderson, founder of Internet Prolink and a shareholder in the ProNet IP network, told Computerworld last week he knew of "several other ISPs" who had switched away from Clear's service this year because of performance problems.

Computerworld understands the ISPs in question, such as Christchurch's Plain Communications, connected to Clear's service via ProNet, which is in dispute with Clear over what it alleges is Clear's failure to meet its service contract.

"It's no secret that Clear is in a legal dispute with ProNet, and Mr Anderson's comments need to be seen in that context," says Inglis. "Rather than ProNet leaving Clear, the reality is that we cut off service to ProNet because a large amount was, and still is, owed to us.

"If Mr Anderson's comments are intended to mean that Clear's IP service has lost customers for service reasons, he is wrong. No customers have left us because of service issues and, in fact, our customer list has grown. Nor have we received customer complaints over service issues in recent times."

Inglis also denies that ProNet won an injunction against Clear to force it to continue supplying ProNet even thought payment was being witheld, saying the matter was settled without an injunction being granted.

"We accept that there was a three-month period of congestion on our international IP service in mid to late 1997," says Inglis. "However, that's a very long time ago in the IP business and we believe we've delivered very robust levels of service since then. We've addressed those historic congestion problems through two separate bandwidth augments and a third is planned for later this year."

Computerworld understands that Clear leased international capacity from Telstra to boost bandwidth earlier this year. Some downstream traffic for its Clear Net retail ISP comes over satellite links.

Since last week's story, Computerworld has been contacted by a subsciber of Wellington ISP Actrix, a shareholder in and customer of ProNet, who describes "many months of appalling performance" with data speeds "frequently half or less than those available from other ISPs".

The customer says performance improved about three weeks ago, around the same time Actrix/ProNet began connecting through Telecom's Netgate service.

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