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UPDATE Breathe Internet and Zetnet UK ISP Customers Still Suffering

Posted: 25th Aug, 2009 By: MarkJ
Despite being over a month since UK ISP Breathe Networks was acquired in a management buy-out under the "new" name of Breathe Internet (original news), customers of its most traumatised sibling ISP - ZetNet - are continuing to suffer problems with their email and other areas of service. The situation has led many to leave the provider; Breathe is also suffering related problems.

The situation first began when the new owners attempted to migrate old email accounts on to a new platform without properly consulting customers. To make matters worse the new owners also took the unbelievable decision to block users from accessing their old email suppliers (Spider Networks) website (original news), making it difficult for them to reach backups.

Sadly customers have continued to complain about the situation throughout August (42 Page Mega Breathe ISPreview Forum Topic), which is despite previous promises to resolve the problems. Part of the issue is a lack of communication, with the latest official status update from Breathe now being two weeks old:

Breathe Email Status Update - 13th August 2009

We apologise for the ongoing issues with email: additional servers went live on the 31st July and also at the beginning of this week and have ensured that a backlog of emails that had been queued could come through to mailboxes. Unfortunately there is still a delay and congestion which is causing various intermittent connection and download faults for email despite the addition of additional mailboxes to the server cluster.

We hope to have this fully resolved as soon as possible and our technical staff are working towards this goal currently.

Today The Register is also reporting that customers who attempt to contact Breathe's helpline are being greeted with an automated message that merely confirms how the ISP is still trying to recover old emails lost before 19th July. Some also complain that they have had difficulty receiving a broadband migration code, an issue that Ofcom appears to be uninterested in helping resolve.

Meanwhile the complex economic wrangling concerning the aftermath of Breathe's management buy-out continue, with the latest news revealing that Spider Networks is owed £21,000 and broadband supplier Murphx a chilling £207,617. Precise details of all this can be found in El Reg's lowdown here, though oddly Murphx appears to be giving their support to the “new” business.

It seems there will now be a creditors' meeting held for the defunct Breathe Networks Ltd (BNL) on 3rd September. BNL's administrator - Neil Chesterton at The MacDonald Partnership - has proposed that the old firm be shifted into voluntary liquidation, but only if it can pay off the unsecured creditors.

UPDATE - 26th August @ 08:20am

As if by magic and shortly after posting the above news yesterday, a new service status update has popped up on Breathe's support pages.

Email issues from the 19th July should now have been largely resolved. New server equipment has been installed creating a substantially larger 'server bank' to deal with the overloading on the servers caused by the mail migrations of the 19th to 21st July. Systems should now able to deal with all the customers now using these systems, however problems have persisted for many customers.

This has been caused by the backlog of mail that has been mounting up for people & clearing this backlog seems to have proved somewhat difficult for the technical team dealing with these problems. Subsequently new storage systems & load balancing systems have been installed most recently & these are now assisting with resolving these problems.

New emails should be arriving to your inboxes with little or no delay now and email undelivered for many since the 8th or 20th August will filter into your mailbox over the next day or so. Some customers may still be awaiting the delivery of emails from before the 19th July, if their email accounts had been moved from servers hosted by a third party to our own network.

The process of recovering this information from our own backups continues but the more important issue of no 'new' emails for all customers should now have been resolved. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to resolve this last issue fully.
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