Internet service provider Breathe has gone into administration and will shut down within days if it cannot find a buyer.
The news follows the abrupt termination of Breathe's unmetered internet service last week, which had 50,000 subscribers who paid a one-off charge of £50 for the service. Including the unmetered service, Breathe had a total of 600,000 customers.
A Breathe spokesman said: "We have gone into administration. Up until confirmation of [Breathe] being bought, nothing is being said."
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was appointed administrator on Friday after the ISP failed to secure a second round of funding. PwC said there were no redundancies among the 140 staff, conflicting reports from within Breathe that its central London office was shut.
A metered dial-up service will continue to be available for the time being, although the spokesman could not confirm whether Breathe's Wap service would continue. "We are taking things one step at a time," he said.
A further announcement is expected on Monday.
Breathe blamed excessive use by some of its unmetered users for making the service impossible to sustain. Breathe was paying a small metered charge to BT for each of its unmetered users.
The bottom has fallen out of the ISP market in the past month. Freeserve was bought by French ISP Wanadoo for little over its IPO price and Lineone has been put up for sale by its owners, BT and United News & Media.
Some have blamed BT for dragging its feet with its wholesale unmetered service, Friaco [Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination], which was promised this year, but still hasn't arrived. Friaco would remove the small metered charge element, something many ISPs had banked on happening sooner.
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