The last year has seen a rapid boom in the number of ISPs offering unmetered internet access in the UK, followed predictably enough by a rapid collapse in the market as they all realised they didn't have a clue how to make any money from such services. It didn't help that BT continued to drag their heels over introducing free internet access packages for them to use, with some services going bust and others (such as AltaVista's much hyped deal) simply failing to materialise.
Now the popular RedHotAnt unmetered service has joined the list of casualties, announcing this morning that "the recent fall out within the technology sector has meant that it has been impossible to secure the necessary funding to continue operating the RedHotAnt un-metered service". As a result the company simply can't afford to run the service anymore. "Our existing telecom provider has given notice that the free phone telephone numbers on which RedHotAnt operates will be withdrawn as of 16th January 2001."
People who subscribed to the 0800 service will instead have to use a standard 0845 local call rate number in future, and that's not the end of the bad news. "Regrettably, voice based technical support is no longer available, and RedHotAnt is not in a financial position to consider the question of refunds or compensation. Meanwhile, the resources no longer exist for us to enter into one to one correspondance with individual customers. We would like to apologise to those users who have not had the opportunity to make profitable use of the service."