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KPNQwest's network dropping data

The bankrupt company's fiber-optic network has been losing track of data at "alarming rates," says an Internet-performance monitoring company.

An Internet performance-monitoring company says KPNQwest's fiber-optic network has been losing track of the data it delivers at "alarming rates" since Friday.

Since early Friday, KPNQwest's networks have been losing an average of 4 percent to 5 percent of all data, said Tom Ohlsson, vice president of marketing and business development for Matrix NetSystems, which monitors both the health of the Internet and the internal networks of corporations.

By comparison, the monitoring company says, a healthy Internet service will lose only about one-tenth of a percent of the data it's been charged with.

KPNQwest runs Europe's largest fiber-optic network, carrying one-quarter of the region's IP (Internet protocol) traffic and providing services for companies such as Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia. It is a joint venture between Dutch national carrier KPN and U.S.-based Qwest Communications International.

Ohlsson speculates KPNQwest customers--European telephone companies and other Internet service providers--have begun canceling their agreements to rent space for Internet traffic on KPNQwest networks. The arrangements are known as "peering."

Ohlsson said Qwest networks serving the United States were not showing unusual amounts of undelivered data.

A Qwest representative declined to comment. KPNQwest couldn't be reached for comment.

KPNQwest recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Investment bank Bear Stearns has less than three weeks to find a buyer for the KPNQwest network, after an increased offer from shareholder KPN allowed the liquidators to keep the network running.