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Internet users closer to restored access signs an agreement with Level 3 to provide Net access to thousands of users who paid a one-time fee but have been offline for months. has signed an agreement with Level 3 Communications to provide Internet access to thousands of former customers who have been offline for months. inked a deal with the next-generation fiber optic telecommunications carrier in February and expects to return service to former users by May 1, executives confirmed today.

    The contract with Level 3 is a three-year, multimillion dollar arrangement, Brigadoon executives said.

    A Seattle-based national Internet service provider, Brigadoon acquired failed one-time fee ISP in November after the company went bankrupt. But about 18,000 customers, who paid $60 for a lifetime of service, have been without Net access for months after the company's previous service provider turned off service when it went unpaid.

    Many former users became disgruntled with the delays and may have abandoned Brigadoon in favor of other ISPs.

    "I would think we'll pick up at least 5,000 subscribers," said Bill Parker, president of, adding that customers will continue to receive service for their previous payment of $59.95.

    Dial-up access will not be activated until May 1, but users with other means of Internet connectivity may have access to their old email accounts as early as April 15, Parker said. Under the deal with Level 3, Brigadoon only plans to reinstate dial-up service through a point of presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Former subscribers in the Los Angeles area will no longer have dial-up access.

    "I don't see that we'll be getting those customers up," Parker said, noting that a few hundred customers remain in Southern California.

    Separately, Brigadoon has plans to re-enter the Los Angeles market and offer service in San Diego for the first time this summer.

    Despite's financial troubles, Brigadoon has not given up on the viability of one-time fee service. Parker said his company, which has had its own financial difficulties including a Chapter 11 reorganization, is considering a plan to offer service for a single flat fee in Washington state's Puget Sound area later this year.