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Freenet Bucks Trend

In another first for Freenet, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) has moved to ensure New Zealanders can continue to get free internet access.

As the industry moves away from providing free internet access, Freenet is bucking the trend and is now the only ISP to offer a level of ongoing free Internet access to both new and existing customers in 12 New Zealand centres.

Karim Hussona, CEO of Freenet's parent company Compass Communications Ltd, says Freenet searched for a solution following changes to interconnect agreements within the industry.

"While the changes have meant it is no longer viable to provide a totally free service, we have developed a plan that will provide a level of free internet access for all our customers, both existing and new."

The new Freenet service gives 10 hours free internet access every month, with a flat fee of $14.75 per month payable for usage over and above that break point. The flat fee is currently the lowest available in New Zealand.

"Industry research, which is supported by our own customer knowledge, shows that 40% to 50% of people access the internet less than 10 hours per month," says Mr Hussona.

"We have worked on this solution to make it a win-win situation for both our customers and ourselves.

"From a company perspective, Freenet is based on a highly efficient and proven business model, so the new offering is a viable and sustainable proposition."

Freenet is wholly owned by Compass Communications Ltd, a profitable, well-established and 100% New Zealand owned company.

"Our customers benefit from Freenet's cost-effective business model by getting the lowest cost internet access currently available, including 10 hours per month free, without compromising speed and network access," says Mr Hussona.

"Obviously we realise that our customers would prefer a totally free service, but given that this is just no longer possible due to changes in the industry, we wanted to make sure we could give them the best deal possible.

"We were the first in New Zealand to offer a free internet service and we're again the first to provide a similar solution in the new environment," says Mr Hussona.

== Ends ==

***FREENET'S NEW OFFER

Effective date: 1 February 2001

The offer: 10 hours free internet access every month. Regardless of usage the previous month, the 10 hours free access will begin on the 1st of every month. Thereafter a flat charge of $14.75 (including GST) for the month, no matter how many hours are used.

***ABOUT FREENET Freenet was launched in February 2000, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Compass Communications Limited, an independent New Zealand telecommunications company (established 1995) that owns and operates a national and international telecommunications network, providing voice, fax and data services. Compass has main switching centres in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, with additional points of presence in Dunedin, Hamilton, Hastings, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Rotorua and Whangarei. Compass currently employs over 50 full and part time staff in six locations, with 30 of its staff located in Auckland. Compass services include: national and international toll calls, toll free calls, internet access services, local telephone line service, digital leased circuits, frame relay network services, broadcast fax service, router supply, PBX systems and website design and hosting. Compass Communications Limited shareholders include John Fernyhough (Chairman), Karim Hussona (Chief Executive Officer) and Paul Carter (Chief Executive Officer). Visit the Compass at: www.compass.net.nz and Freenet at www.freenet.co.nz.


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