RealTime IT News

Freei.Net Enters Asia Pacific

Freei.Net Thursday became the first American free ISP service to take the leap into the Asia Pacific market.

Freei.Net, as Freei Asia-Pacific (Sdn. Bhd.), intends to tout its wares in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand by partnering with local telecoms. The company expects free service to become available by January, though the location where its offerings will first become available was not specified.

Freei Asia-Pacific will be based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and will be led by Alex Wong and Ross Knudson.

"The Asia-Pacific region is experiencing a resurgence in its economies," said Wong. "Internet access is the key to accelerated growth. Through this partnership with Freei.Net, we can make the Internet accessible to anyone in this area, regardless of their income level."

Rod Hamlin, Freei.Net vice president of business development, said that the company sees an opportunity to enlist millions of subscribers in "an extremely short amount of time," adding that Freei.Net sees the governments of Singapore and Malaysia as being ahead of the U.S. in terms of promoting PC use and Internet connectivity.

Freei.Net pointed to recent reports hailing the Asian region as the next boom market, including Goldman Sachs' Asia Internet Report target of 15 million current Net users and IDC's prediction of 42 million users in Asia by 2001.

Freei.Net claims to be the sixth largest ISP in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million subscribers. According to Jupiter Communications, free ISPs will provide the primary path to the Internet for 13 million Americans by 2003, representing 13 percent of the total market share.