Customers of GAW High Speed Internet, the ISP linked to now-defunct cryptocurrency mining company GAW Miners, are reportedly experiencing broad service outages.
As reported by regional news service VTDigger, users in the Brattleboro area of Vermont have lost access to email accounts, and GAW HSI staff are reportedly unresponsive to complaints.
The news comes months after services outages in Massachusetts occurred, during which phone access for small business customers of GAW HSI was cut off. Service was later restored for some of those affected customers.
GAW HSI owes Vermont $18,018 in disbursed grant funds that were never used, an amount the state Attorney General’s office is currently seeking. According to VTDigger, that office issued two letters seeking repayment in April and May.
State telecommunications official Jim Porter told the news service that the ISP has been on the radar for years owing to service issues, noting:
“For a couple of years we have believed they have provided subpar service. As we look at our connectivity map we want to increase speeds in targeted areas where GAW is the provider. We have known them to be a problematic provider for two to three years.”
Customers in the state have been advised to contact the Vermont Department of Public Service to be direct to alternative ISPs.
GAW HSI, formerly known as Great Auk Wireless, is a New England-based ISP previously run by Josh Garza, who later established GAW Miners, and is owned by Cantor Fitzgerald vice chairman Stuart Fraser.
Those affected say they have been adversely impacted due to the unannounced loss of service, echoing complaints from other HSI customers who have previously indicated service disruptions resulted in significant problems.
One customer told VTDigger that they’ve been without access to their Gmail account since May.
“It’s just really, really bad,” Vermont resident Dawn Carillo said. “Everything in my life goes through my email. I don’t get notices through the mail. I’ve done away with paper wherever I can.”
Customers from Maidstone, Vermont say that they were promised annual reimbursements and free broadband access after agreeing to lease their property to HSI. These promises, they say, have not been delivered.
The complaints seem to mirror those from customers of GAW’s mining and cryptocurrency ventures, many of whom have sustained losses as its mining operations have ceased and the price of paycoin has crashed to roughly 6 cents apiece, according to Coinmarketcap.com.
Growing legal challenges
The move by Vermont officials to take action against GAW’s ISP company for the service failures represents the latest legal challenge against the now-defunct organization. It remains unclear what steps the state AG’s office will take, a representative for the office was not immediately available for comment.
In April, a Mississippi-based utilities firm filed suit against GAW Miners for breach of contract, seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid electrical bills. GAW failed to respond to the suit and on 22nd June the court clerk filed an entry of default in the case.
A court case in Connecticut, also filed in April, sought roughly $200,000 in damages from GAW Miners and PayBase, the money services platform created by GAW. The two plaintiffs in the case filed suit after seeking arbitration. The judge in that case ultimately found in favor of the plaintiffs, authorizing a garnishing of GAW and Paybase-related bank accounts.
GAW and its former CEO Josh Garza could face a more concerted legal effort in the near future in the form of a group lawsuit, which is said to have drawn support from both US-based and international customers numbering at least 400 individuals. That lawsuit is expected to be pursued in US federal court.
The company continues to be the focus of an on-going investigation by federal authorities including the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
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