An online radio station is taking legal action against a UK Internet Service Provider (ISP) for claimed breach of contract.
Magic Communications is applying for a summary High Court judgement against ISP Netcom Internet, for failing to deliver 400 media streams to enable liveinternet broadcasts.
Applications for summary judgements are made by a party that believes it has a particularly strong case and that the other side has no defence, in the hope ofavoiding a lengthy court battle.
The planned radio station, magicfm.com, will not be going live in the foreseeable future. A notice on its website says that proceedings against Netcom Internet are taking place.
Netcom was acquired by GTS Netcom, which owns the Hermes Europe Railtel network, for $91.5m earlier this year.
Nicholas Brummitt, managing director of Magic Communications, said that the service should have gone live last August, and that the delay is "ruining whatwe have set out to do".
"Tens of thousand of pounds have been invested. It's a full multimedia site offering a book shop, a casino, a ticket outlet and a shopping directory, but there's nothing we can do because we haven't got the streams."
Ian Lindsay, legal director of Netcom Internet, said: "They've [Magic Communications] made a contractual claim against us and we've rebutted it. It's a question of interpretation of contract."
"The issue is what they've asked for and what they will get," he added. "We have offered them a service that will allow them what they want to do, and nowthey are saying that they don't necessarily want it."
Brummitt said: "In the defence they have filed, Netcom admit they do not currently have the technical resources to provide the service they have beencontracted to supply."
Paul Barton, partner in IT and ecommerce for Field Fisher Waterhouse, said that customers' dissatisfaction with ISPs in the marketplace is running high.
"There is a perception that they are underperforming. Companies are increasingly moving around ISPs, with customers unhappy about poor service. They see ISPs reneging on contractual commitments."
He said complaints centre on lack of bandwidth, speed of data delivery and poor back up on the helpdesk. He recommends that customers look carefully at anycontract before signing.
"First look at the contract to see what is being promised to clearly understand what service will be offered."
"A lot of agreements are drafted so that ISPs take no liability for the service being down. Customers should at least have some commitment that in such an eventuality they will be switched to another network, or have dedicated resources to regain service or pay compensation."
Magic Communications is currently in negotiations to secure another supplier.
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