Goodnet Internet Service Back Online, Confusion Still Reigns

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The Goodnet Internet service provider is back up and running, at least temporarily.

The reason customers could not get online for the better part of last week was that the company had "inadvertently" neglected to pay its electric bill, according to Peter Duda, the president of the public relations firm which represents Winstar, owner of Goodnet.

"(The bill) was taken care of, the site is up again, and everyone's service should be restored," Duda said Monday. "The company apologizes for that."

The most Duda could promise regarding the future of Goodnet, however, is that Winstar will continue to provide Payson-area dial-up service only "for the time being. They are exiting the ISP market in your area, and they are working to find providers for all the customers in your area. It is hoped that there will eventually be a switch without any interruption of service."

Unaffected by Winstar's "strategy switch," Duda said, are "Winstar's broadband customers, which are all small- and medium-sized businesses. They are still being serviced by Winstar ... so Goodnet is not out of business."

For any Goodnet customers who continue to have questions or problems, Duda suggests that they call Winstar's customer care center at (888) 961-8800.

Last week, a flurry of rumors among Goodnet users suggested that the ISP had been purchased by the national Internet provider, Earthlink, which was going to use its customer base as a springboard into the Payson market.

That misconception seems to stem from the fact that according to Winstar public relations representative Laura Klein the company has sold a large portion of its residential Goodnet customers to Earthlink "to allow Winstar to focus on bigger markets."

Meanwhile, the Utah-based ICC, owner of the former Payson Internet provider FutureOne, recently sold some or all of its local dial-up numbers and customers to Earthlink as well at least according to a July 25 e-mail sent to local FutureOne users by ICC.

On that same day, at least some of those customers also received an e-mail from Earthlink which read, "Dear Valued Customer: Welcome to EarthLink! We are excited about the upcoming transition of your Internet access account to EarthLink and look forward to serving you."

Sounds pretty clear until you speak to Dan Greenfield, Earthlink's vice president of communications.

"We are actually not servicing your area," Greenfield said Monday after checking Payson's area code and telephone exchanges with Earthlink's master list of current and planned service areas.

Payson resident Vonda Lux, a five-year Goodnet dial-up user, is not going to wait around to see if all of these contradictions sort themselves out.

"Everytime I call their customer service line, I get a different explanation as to what's going on," Lux said. "The last time I talked to them, they said they were going to shut down their service entirely at the end of August. I don't want to mess with them anymore. I'm going to try and find another service provider."

The telephone number for the Cybertrails Internet service provider was incorrect in Friday's edition of the Roundup. The correct number is (888) GoCyber. Among the other ISPs available to Payson users, Internet service is also provided through McLeodUSA (800) 574-0234.

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