Mitsubishi Electric Internet Services (Menet) will be shutting up shop in September, just four months after it launched free Internet access to businesses in the UK.
Some 20,000 customers, mainly small and medium sized businesses, have been told that their Internet service will be discontinued from 30 September and that they will need to change their email addresses and find a new Web hosting service.
Last February Mitsubishi Electric launched a range of services under the Menet brand for SMEs, in partnership with UK distributor Computer 2000. Services included a basic Internet access service, called Internet Starter, and a high end service, called Internet Server, offering dedicated Web server hosting at Menet's operations centre in Birmingham.
In an email sent to customers, Paul Braham, UK general manager blamed Menet's demise on Mitsubishi's "substantial reorganisation, following poor financial results."
"Unfortunately, the Internet Services Division has been included in this global restructure," he added.
In April, the Japanese manufacturer reported a loss of 113.7 billion yen for the year ended 31 March which it blamed on charges associated with a widespread restructuring plan. In June, the company officially closed the manufacturing of the PC hardware, design and manufacturing business of Apricot Computers.
A spokeswoman for the company said customers will have plenty of time to find another Internet service provider: "We only have to give 14 days notice legally, and we have given them much longer to get a new ISP."
"We will also provide information about alternative ISPs on the market," she added.
Daniel Bieler, Internet consultant at Ovum said: "Free dial-up access is now offered by more than 50 ISPs. It is only profitable for very few. Most make their money from call handling. Freeserve has 1.4 million customers. Only then can you start to make money from advertising and Web transactions."
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