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Lack of funds renews threat to KPNQwest

Trustees of bankrupt telecommunications company say they will have to shut down the company's European fiber-optic network by noon Wednesday if customers fail to pay money they pledged.

Liquidators for bankrupt service provider KPNQwest have still not received money promised by customers last week, and are again threatening to withdraw their support for the network.

Unless they get the money required to keep the network running for the next two weeks, they will withdraw their support at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, they said Tuesday. The network carries up to a third of Europe's IP traffic.

This will effectively shut the network down, although the liquidators only say "it is likely that this will lead to disruptions of the network in the immediate future, and eventually to a complete close down of the network."

"I'm not sure how much credibility yet another ultimatum has," said Graham Kinsey, staff spokesperson for KPNQwest's Ebone operations center. "This is going to be viewed as idle threats."

Workers at Ebone on Monday said that they are prepared to keep the network running, independently, if no buyer is found by the end of June.

KPNQwest has averted other shutdown threats recently. Friday, the bankrupt company's laid off staff, which had been working without pay, said they would turn off the network if they were not paid. Workers called off the action after liquidators for the company agreed to pay some of them through the end of the month.

Earlier last week, the company's liquidators said they'd close the operations if customers did not pay up-front. That deadline was extended to the end of June.

ZDNet U.K.'s Peter Judge reported from London.