Companies offer service to Truckstop.net customers hit by outage

| Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Two truck stop chains have offered to provide wireless Internet service to customers of Truckstop.net.

Wi-Fi service at more than 500 truck stops across the United States served by Truckstop.net has been halted, the company announced Nov. 30. The locations include all the Petro locations that carried the service.

Service at a number of locations continued however, as truck stop operators made efforts to keep customers online. Among those that made the effort were locations operated by Love’s.

In a statement posted on the company’s Web site, Love’s officials said, “We have reinstated our Wi-Fi service and our truck stops are Wi-Fi hotspots once again, now with a stronger signal.

“Unfortunately, since Truckstop.net is still down, we will not be able to take new Wi-Fi customers, but we will honor all existing Truckstop.net accounts, even those purchased with our competitors.”

The chain will provide the service to customers for free for the next 90 days, according to the company statement.

In addition, Flying J truck stops will honor the outstanding balance on Truckstop.net accounts, providing those customers service at its 285 “hot spots” – as Wi-Fi locations are known – nationwide.

“We understand how important it is for drivers to stay connected while they are on the road,” J.J. Singh, vice president of financial and communication services at Flying J, said in a release. “High-speed Internet access has become a necessity for many drivers and owner-operators and we sympathize with those drivers that have been affected by this unfortunate situation.”

The outage began when Truckstop.net sued Overland Park, KS-based Sprint, which installed and configured the service’s equipment. A statement from Truckstop.net said the company filed suit Nov. 15 in U.S. District Court in Idaho, claiming that its customers were suffering service outages caused by Sprint equipment. The problems reportedly affected “thousands” of customers who used the wireless Internet-access service.

Debra Peterson, communications manager at Sprint’s Overland Park, KS, headquarters, said that when the suit was filed Nov. 15, the judge required Truckstop.net to post a $67,500 bond and ordered Sprint to continue the service.

During a second hearing Nov. 19, the judge increased the size of the bond. Truckstop.net did not post the amount by Nov. 22 as required, effectively ending the injunction, so Sprint cut off service Nov. 23, she said.

According to the news release from Truckstop.net, the Internet service provider had worked with Sprint for five months to find the source of the problem, but that the telecommunications company had not corrected them.

However, Peterson said her company conducted tests but was not able to replicate the problems described by Truckstop.net officials.

“We believe the services performed to the contractual agreement,” Peterson said.

“I just believe that we’ve met the requirements of our agreement with Truckstop.net to provide equipment and services, and we should be paid for what is due to us. I think that’s our bottom line.”

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