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CLEAR introduces ZFREE - free Internet access

CLEAR introduces ZFREE - free Internet access for home users

CLEAR Communications today launched ZFREE – a free nationwide Internet access service for home users.

The new service is being offered by CLEAR as a means of encouraging as many New Zealanders as possible to go online, by eliminating the barriers to Internet access.

CLEAR’s Online Services and Marketing Director, Ian Scherger, says the launch of the new brand and service is driven by the rapidly changing Internet market. CLEAR Net, CLEAR’s Internet Service Provider (ISP), is focusing on being a business and premium service ISP. Some of the factors contributing to these moves include the trend to free Internet access for residential users, and the significant impact on CLEAR Net from the introduction of Telecom’s anti-competitive 0867 regime.

CLEAR Net will continue to offer premium online services to businesses and home users wanting products such as web hosting and ISDN access to the web, says Mr Scherger.

“The launch of ZFREE gives us the opportunity to provide a wide-reaching service to residential users and differentiate the superior services provided by CLEAR Net, which is focussing on being a business ISP,” says Mr Scherger.

Mr Scherger says CLEAR has long-planned the launch of ZFREE and believes the business model is a successful one, as demonstrated by the significant growth and success of similar models overseas.

“ZFREE is a simple product at a very simple price – free!”

ZFREE also provides CLEAR with the opportunity to establish an online relationship with as many of its customers as possible.

“We want to grow the Internet revolution,” says Mr Scherger.

He says CLEAR has drawn upon the international expertise of its 100% shareholder BT, which has already developed and launched free Internet services in Ireland (Oceanfree: www.oceanfree.net) and Italy (Infinito: www. infinito.it), as well as Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Malaysia and Singapore. Providing free Internet access is a part of BT’s global strategy – of the six million Internet users serviced by BT or its alliance partners worldwide, around two-thirds use subscription-free services.

ZFREE will provide free Internet access, email, newsgroups, search facilities and basic help. Users will be charged if they choose to call ZFREE’s 0900-number helpdesk for more advanced assistance. In addition, users may be subject to Telecom’s 0867 charges.

ENDS

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