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Supplier Dispute Knocks UK ISP Aspire Internet Broadband Users Offline for a Week

Posted: 14th Sep, 2010 By: MarkJ
aspire internet uk ispCustomers of the small UK ISP Aspire Internet (formerly EurISP) have been left without broadband internet access for almost one week following a supplier dispute. The situation began last Wednesday (8th September 2010) after users were abruptly disconnected from the service and found themselves unable to contact the ISP by either phone or email.

Customers who did manage to contact Aspire last week, just as the problems first began, were initially told that it was an unspecified fault with BT. Others were later informed that it appeared to be a problem with the ISPs "realm" (see the related ISPreview forum topic).

A realm is a usergroup name that is registered with a network, just as a domain name is registered with a registrar (e.g. back in 2006 PlusNet changed their login realm from @plus.net to @plusdsl.net). A realm fault would prevent you being able to login and a change of realm often signals a change of supplier.

Despite the serious situation, Aspire Internet failed to make any mention of its problems on their website (the ISPs service status page still reads "Coming Soon !", much as it did last year). To most customers the provider has been completely unreachable since the middle of last week, although it finally broke cover yesterday afternoon.

Aspire Internet Status Update (Email)

First of all I apologise that you are having problems getting through on the phone, but as all our connections are currently down we are receiving an extremely high number of calls.

Aspire were in the processing of moving some circuits between upstream providers, the losing provider took it upon themselves to suspend all services on our Realm’s, hence the current issues.

We have been fighting this action with Ofcom and also the provider in question, to date without success, there is a reasonably simple solution although cannot get the provider to sign paperwork to transfer our Realms.

As a plan b, we obtained MAC codes for all circuits which we have in place and all circuits are currently being migrated, this unfortunately takes time, and as a result we are unable to provide MAC codes at this time, should we cancel the migrations, then existing MAC codes become unusable and a period of 30 days has to expire before obtaining a new MAC Code.

The circuits will start to return to service in the next day or so, in the meantime should we get Realm Migration paperwork signed then service will be restored.

We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused, and will try to keep you updated.

Kind Regards,

Sarah Douther
Aspire Internet Limited

We don't currently have an official statement from Ofcom on this matter (still awaiting their reply), although the regulator has unofficially confirmed to some customers that Aspire are migrating to a new supplier and that the ISP hopes to have everybody reconnected by Friday 17th September.

Any change of supplier usually requires some additional changes to your login (realm) details, which can often cause further confusion. At this stage it is not known why Aspire ran into trouble with their existing supplier, although historically such issues have been caused by an ISPs failure to pay its bills (i.e. a financial dispute).

However such problems would not be unfamiliar to Aspire Internet, which rose from the ashes of EurISPs liquidation process during June last year (UK Broadband ISP EurISP Enters Liquidation). We hope to add an update from Ofcom before the end of today.
Review Aspire Internet
UPDATE 16th September

Update Posted Here
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