Somewhere around 5000 business and consumer subscribers to Melbourne-based family-run ISP Smarter Way had their service disrupted on new year's eve thanks to a decision by Telstra to pull the plug.
The disputed account is believed to be in excess of $100,000 and Telstra's action to disconnect on December 30 delivered an early Y2K glitch for the company which has been providing Internet services since 1996 and has 17 local call access points around Australia.
According to a Smarter Way spokesperson, the disconnection has wreaked havoc with the ISP's customer base as it was left, at least in part, off the air for six days.
He said that the company had been in dispute with the giant telco over a period of six months when the cut-off action was taken.
`All we've been doing for the past week is taking phone calls from customers trying to re-establish their links, and even some of our most loyal business clients had to make new arrangements with alternate ISPs,' the Smart Way staffer lamented.
A spokesperson from Telstra Business Solutions told Tabloid that the dispute went back more than a year and claimed it had advised the ISP to seek an alternative telco in November.
`We will be defending any legal action the company brings,' she added.
Meanwhile, the company has reportedly paid the money demanded - the only way it would get reconnected - and the dispute remains unresolved.