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Massive AT&T e-mail shutdown

December 2, 2001 

Sanford White heard the worst might be coming.

That's why he spent virtually all of Friday night downloading files using his AT&T Broadband cable modem.

On Saturday, the Buffalo Grove computer user was glad he had done so. Like other AT&T Internet subscribers, he turned on his machine to find his Web access cut off.

The shutdown, caused by a financial dispute between AT&T, other cable companies and their network provider, At Home Corp., is affecting tens of thousands of Chicago area Web surfers and hundreds of thousands more nationwide, AT&T officials told the Sun-Times Saturday.

AT&T said it will take between two and 10 days to switch customers to its own cable-modem network.

Meanwhile, e-mails sent to their "" domain names likely will be lost in cyberspace, and a new domain name-- ""--will take effect when the new network is running, said Pat Andrews-Keenan, an AT&T Broadband spokeswoman.

AT&T will give customers two days' credit on their bills for every day the service is down, Andrews-Keenan said.

White continued to surf the Web this weekend, thanks to dial-up modem access he has through his computer group. But he decried the fact that other AT&T customers not as lucky as he is could be without high-speed service until early next week.

"There are people that have relied on this broadband service as their only way of communicating with the outside world," he said.

At Home Corp. shut off high- speed access to about 850,000 AT&T customers after a bankruptcy judge said Friday it could cancel its contracts with cable companies. About 86,000 customers in the Northwest were transferred to AT&T's own network on Saturday, and the company planned to move the rest--in Chicago; Pittsburgh; Hartford, Conn., and cities in the West--over two to 10 days.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy in September, wants more money from cable operators for offering high-speed connections.

Contributing: Sun-Times wires

BY CHRIS FUSCO STAFF REPORTER. Copyright © 2000, Digital Chicago Inc.

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