Next move - nationalizing the internet infrastructure in Europe ?
June 7, 2002 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Next move - nationalizing the internet infrastructure in Europe ? 300 staff and union officials have blockaded themselves at the network operations centre in Belgium following Dutch telecoms company KPNQwest bankruptcy filing. Stocked up on provisions, taking shifts unpaid to keep the centre fully operational. "If we leave, then in three to five days there will be the largest internet slowdown in European history." From the article - KPNQwest's infrastructure covers 60 cities around Europe, estimated between one third and one half of all European internet traffic.
posted by Voyageman (10 comments total)
To what end I wonder? If they don't change minds with these further negotiations will they work unpaid forever? Wouldn't their point be better made by letting the network degrade without them?
posted by thirteen at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2002

an open question for students of financial law:

would U.S-style bankruptcy laws have kept this situation from getting this dire?

posted by nobody_knose at 9:29 AM on June 7, 2002

It seems this coming Monday is the day.
posted by Voyageman at 10:03 AM on June 7, 2002

Thirteen - Ever wonder if the people that work there could be working there because they like running the internet and want to keep it working in the face of blatant mismanagement and horrible business decisions? Hell, I'd be in there too. They're not trying to make a labor point -- they're trying to keep their world running the face of what could be a crippling of business and ecommerce around the globe. I mean, hell, my domain registrar's in France...

In my opinion, the administrators are the fuckers in this situation. "He added: "The administrators have just driven off in their BMW M5s and they are threatening to send in the police to force us to leave."
posted by SpecialK at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2002

SpecialK: I believe they sincerly care, but I don't see how it pans out. They are not going to get paid if they work for free, and the situation that will prove they are worth paying is not going to pop up if they maintain the system. If anything it is like an employers dream.
posted by thirteen at 10:51 AM on June 7, 2002

thirteen - I think they're just hoping to give the customers a chance to switch to other providers. The ship's still going to sink, it's just that the crew have offered to stay on deck and help the passengers.
posted by iain at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2002

Gov't should just hand the company over to the employees, let them own it. It's not like the admins in M5s are necessary to the success of the company.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 AM on June 7, 2002

Yeah, screw the property rights of the shareholders! Especially if the management drives cars more expensive than mine! Damn them!
posted by dagny at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2002

These folks are heros. It's amazing how often the folks on the front lines are motivated to do well, and the cluebies above them get in the way. Telecom companies are the worst. It's the world that gave birth to Dilbert. I hope an owner for the network is found shortly, and the people keeping it alive are rightly rewarded for their work.
posted by chipr at 4:02 PM on June 7, 2002

Dagny, the company is *toast* otherwise. The shareholders are gonna get nothing at all if the doors are closed. At least if the company gets run by employees, (a) all the customers don't get screwed; (b) all the employees don't get screwed; and (c) maybe even the shareholders won't get completely screwed.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:24 AM on June 8, 2002

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