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RealTime IT News

Asia Online Acquires Three More Australian ISPs

US-based ISP Asia Online has continued its buying spree in the Australian ISP industry by acquiring mid-size providers in three different states.

Brisbane Internet Technology (BIT), Sydney-based The Message eXchange (TMX) and Dove, which operates in the South Australian city of Adelaide, have now been added to Asia Online's September acquisitions of Internet Access Australia in Melbourne and Canberra-based Interact.

TMX was one of the pioneers in the local ISP industry, with a ten year history dating back almost to the start of the Internet in Australia. BIT concentrates on the Brisbane metropolitan area, with managing director Brent Paddon and CEO Brett Caird among the major beneficiaries of the sell-out.

Perth, Darwin and Hobart remain the only Australian state or territory capitals not to be covered by Asia Online, and CEO Kevin Randolph said it was looking at further acquisition targets in Australasia. The company already owns an Auckland ISP called the Internet Company of New Zealand.

The company said it would combine the resources of all of these providers into a "full service network" run out of Hong Kong, to add to other ISPs acquired earlier this year in Hong Kong and the Philippines and a new base in California.

"Australia and New Zealand are very important to our long-term strategy to create a pan-Pacific network of business-oriented Internet providers to serve not only our customers based here, but the millions of others that have business or cultural links to the region," said Randolph.

Asia Online has venture capital support from US financiers J.P. Morgan and Japanese technology investment house Softbank. It said it hopes to partner with US vendors to launch services like voice over IP, unified messaging and secure email.

Originally a Hong Kong-based ISP with an operation in the Philippines, Asia Online expanded its network to include Melbourne-based Internet Access Australia, InterACT in Canberra and Auckland's Internet Company of New Zealand.