After WorldCom, Who'll Be Your ISP?By Larry Barrett | Posted 2002-08-02 Print
Worried about your ISP in the wake of the telco tidal wave? Get a backup plan in place now.
You've already heard the news.
WorldCom has filed for bankruptcy protection amid questionable accounting practices. Verizon spin-off Genuity teeters precipitously after Verizon announced it wouldn't rescue Genuity from its debtors by reassuming control. Qwest and Global Crossing join the ranks, having either filed for bankruptcy or announced massive layoffs and sharp losses. Sprint, one of the more stable providers, posted a net loss in its latest quarter. And AT&T is in the doldrums, even with a change atop its management team.
They've been key players in providing businesses with reliable Internet service. Today, they flounder. The whole Internet backbone industry seems perilously destabilized.
Now, what do you do about it?
WorldCom's bankruptcy filing has customers of its UUNet division, the largest provider of Internet backbone services to corporate customers, on edge. While there's no reason to believe UUNet's service will go dark even if WorldCom has to sell the unit to pay off its debtors, analysts and customers are strongly advising UUNet-dependent customers to devise a backup plan if they haven't already.
"Our advice to UUNet customers, if they're happy with UUNet, is they shouldn't look at changing arbitrarily because UUNet isn't just going to disappear," says Giga Information Group telecom analyst Lisa Pierce. That said, "if UUNet is their primary provider, they really need to find a secondary provider for critical applications and routes."
So, first of all, don't jettison your main provider. Next, establish a backup plan and service. Finally, decide how or whether to connect that new backup wire into your system.
These steps are key to planning for all contingencies, says Eric Siegel, principal Internet consultant with Keynote Systems Inc., an Internet performance measurement and benchmarking company. "There will be these little upheavals from time to time," he notes, no matter what company you use as your main ISP.
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