Turns out ants might well survive a nuclear war, but they're powerless against phone companies.

Internet service provider RedHotAnt is yet another in the long line of ISPs to bite the bullet over unmetered internet access, pulling the plug on its service yesterday.

In a written statement, RHA blamed the end of service on an inability to back up the losses it must surely have incurred with its freephone internet access scheme.

"Under the circumstances our existing provider has given notice that the free phone telephone numbers on which RedHotAnt operates will be withdrawn as of 16 January 2001," says the statement.

Unfortunately for users, phone-based technical support is "no longer available, and RedHotAnt is not in a financial position to consider the question of refunds or compensation".

This sorry state of affairs is compounded by the fact that it has so far proved impossible to reach anyone concerned with RedHotAnt. Phone jail is the order of the day, with RHA's phone system set to full auto, with its sister telco, Jackal, also giving no human response.

We at PC Advisor still await a response from either of them.