Internet provider shuts down, leaves customers scrambling

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 7, 2000

Businesses and individuals who were customers of Cruisenet, a Jackson-based Internet provider, have been scrambling to find a new company from which to receive Internet services.

Cruisenet bought Magnolianet, a Vicksburg-based provider in March 1999, and since has been providing access to the Internet as well as Web page hosting services to some Vicksburg customers.

Over the weekend, Cruisenet customers received an e-mail message saying the company was going out of business. The message also says the company would operate until today so customers would have time to find another Internet provider.

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“I came in Saturday morning to do some work,” said Tim McCarley, manager of the DIMCO Inc. office in Vicksburg. “When I saw (the message) I got a headache.”

McCarley said DIMCO, a surveying and mapping firm, had transferred to Cruisenet when it bought out Magnolianet. The company received Internet and Web services from Cruisenet.

“We just got some stationary and business cards printed,” McCarley said, adding that scrapping them and having them reprinted will be an expense to DIMCO.

Cruisenet did not answer telephone calls, nor did the company respond to a faxed request for contact this morning.

“I was pretty disappointed,” said Ethel Pickens, an individual customer of Cruisenet. She had also been with Cruisenet since that company bought out Magnolianet.

In retrospect, Pickens said, there were some signs that there might be trouble with the new company.

When the switch was made and the equipment was moved to Jackson, she said Cruisenet shut down in the middle of the week without warning customers. It took her a week to contact the company and be walked through the procedures to switch to the new location.

Some time later, Pickens said, Cruisenet shut down again, apparently for another equipment change, but she was only out about a day then.

“I remembered how to make the switch,” Pickens said.

She said her computer and Internet access is important to her because she uses it to keep in touch with her children who live in distant states.

“This is the greatest toy I’ve ever had,” she said.

Another Cruisenet customer who asked not to be identified said he was greatly concerned.

“It’s almost unheard of for an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to go out of business,” he said, adding if an ISP is in trouble they normally have no trouble selling out to another company.