BT offers MAC lifeline for Biscit customers

BT Wholesale has come to the rescue of stranded Biscit users by setting up a hotline to issue the MAC codes necessary for them to quickly move to another ISP.

Communications giant BT's wholesale division has set up a hotline to issue Biscit Internet customers with migration authorisation codes (MACs) so that they can quickly move to another internet service provider (ISP).

Biscit, which had recently been given hope of a reprieve when Breathe showed an interest in the company, remains in administration with its customers left looking for a new provider.

BT Wholesale's hotline will be active from today and accessible from the Biscit website for seven days.

A statement on the website reads: "Any customers requiring their MAC for ADSL services should contact BT on 0800 169 9576, and NOT Biscit, the administrator or OFCOM."

Access to MACs will mean Biscit's 6,500 customers can quickly move to another supplier.

It might appear that a good deal of Biscit's existing customer base has already made the switch. When the news broke just a week ago that Breathe Internet was considering acquiring Biscit's customer base, it was quoted as having 13,500 customers.

A BT spokesperson said that the 6,500 figure referred to the number of Biscit customers using BT Wholesale's IPStream products. There are also a number of dial-up customers and others using Biscit's fixed line service which would not need the MAC hotline service.

IT PRO's sister title PC Pro was told that, while BT Wholesale had gone beyond the call of duty in this particular instance, it was not committed to providing such a service in the future, despite smaller providers being under increased pressure.

"As the market consolidates and margins are squeezed, there will be more and more smaller ISPs going out of the market," the spokeswoman warned.

The hotline has been set up with Ofcom's approval, and the issuing of MAC codes is in no way tied to Biscit customers' future choice of provider.

Gaby Heppner-Logan, BT's director of regulatory affairs, said: "We recognise that Biscit's customers will be concerned about losing their services. That's why BT Wholesale is going the extra mile in this difficult situation. BT Wholesale is doing all it can to make sure that affected customers are supported by extending the deadline for disconnection and providing MACs directly to customers."

"This MAC helpdesk for Biscit customers will be available from [today] and I would encourage customers of Biscit to use the service..."

She added: "We are continuing to work closely with Ofcom and the administrator to ensure the adequate protection of Biscit's customers."

However, it remains a positive message for BT Retail as well. The more questions hang over the future of small ISPs, the more likely customers will revert to tried and trusted names.

Biscit offered fixed line services as well, and its customers will have to move another provider for their landline, although 999 calls will still be connected in the meantime.

Biscit customers and partners who need to contact Biscit regarding issues other than MAC codes are advised to contact the administrator in writing at the following address:

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