SUNDAY TRIBUNE: 1 DECEMBER 2002


Dispute leads to website blocking



INTERNET service provider (ISP) UTVInternet (UTVi) last week blocked access to ebid.ie as a result of a commercial dispute between the two companies. While subscribers to UTV's internet service were unable to access the Irish-based auction web site, net users using other ISPs were able to reach ebid.ie unhindered.

On Wednesday afternoon a message posted on a UTV technical support site confirmed that a block had been put in place. The message read: "ebid.ie is currently being blocked by us for all UTVi users because of an on-going commercial dispute", and further stated that the ban had been in place for "a week or two".

Although ebid.ie's site was still accessible for many internet users, ebid's Felim Pekaar confirmed to The Sunday Tribune that he had been aware of the block and that there was a dispute between the two companies.

The block by UTVi was lifted on Thursday afternoon but was re-instated later that day. The company confirmed on Friday that the blocking has now ceased.

A spokesperson for UTVi said on Friday: "We are in dispute with ebid and because of the nature of that dispute we put a temporary block on their site from ours. Obviously we do not intend to stop our subscribers from having access to sites they wish to visit so this block has now been removed.

"Given that only a couple of people contacted us about this, we hardly see the temporary block as having had any effect on our wider subscriber base." Cormac Callanan, chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI), said that he "would strongly discourage something of this nature" when it comes to using blocking mechanisms to resolve disputes.

:: I've written more about this issue in my column here