Trustees of bankrupt KPNQwest NV, scrambling to keep one of Europe’s largest fibre-optic networks from shutting down, are urging customers to pay all amounts due to KPNQwest for service in May and June, the trustees said in a statement Thursday.

Also, a deal is in the works with a European telecommunication company to operate a key backbone owned by Ebone before it was acquired by KPNQwest last year, a source close to the trustees said Friday. A deal, which would keep the Ebone network online for one month, could be reached as early as Friday evening, the source said.

The trustees want to keep the KPNQwest network running this month and possibly through July. This would give them more time to find a buyer and maximize proceeds for the creditors because an operating business is worth more than a defunct business, and at the same time give customers more time to find an alternate carrier, according to the statement.

Customers are being asked to pay money owed and an advance for June into an escrow account. If there is not enough money raised by close of business on Monday, the network will be shut down and the money will be refunded, according to the statement. The trustees hope to raise about