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Bug#201537: Can't install Sarge from CD without a working network

Package: install
Version: jigdo download 2003-07-12 (can't install to find out more!)

I want to install Sarge from scratch on a laptop. The laptop has a strange 
PCMCIA NIC so I have to install without network access. I downloaded (jigdo) 
the first 5 CD iso images. I have tried installing with CD1 and CD4 but get 
to the same dead end:

All goes well with the install - sensible defaults, good hardware detection, 
easy way to leave partitions as they are. Unfortunately, when I try to 
install the base system the installer gives this message:

P: 0 100 Downloading Release file
I: Retrieving http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/dists/sarge/Release
E: Failed getting release file 
Debian Installer Main Menu

Installing base system into /target/ failed
Check /target/var/log/............. for the details.

(the logs are empty)

It seems I must have the network configured before I can install the base 
system to get the network configured - catch 22! Asking on the forums the 
suggestion is: install woody and then dist-upgrade. I can do that but thought 
you'd like to know about this problem.

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