RealTime IT News

Australian ISP Market Gets Another Player

Primus Telecommunications has become the latest in a long line of Australian telcos to offer Internet connectivity.

Under the Internet Primus banner, which was launched to the public on the weekend via television advertising, Primus will offer prices for basic Internet connection starting at less than AUS$9 (US$5.80) per month.

The company has also announced it has bought out the remaining 40 percent it did not already own of troubled Brisbane ISP HotKey. HotKey went into liquidation late last year after defaults on large bills outstanding to upstream telecommunications providers, but Primus has now completed a rescue of the provider, which specialised in franchise deals with smaller ISPs.

The Internet Primus service will run on a network of Nortel routers, with software from Microsoft and services from local systems integrator Com Tech. It will initially run out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with an additional 65 points of presence scheduled to be rolled out by the turn of the century.

In addition to the cut-price consumer service, Internet Primus will also be sold to the business market, with delivery options including ISDN, xDSL and wireless. Turnkey solutions for Web site hosting, electronic commerce, virtual private networks, and secure payment gateways are also planned.

Of course, none of this is new, and neither is the path that Primus has taken to launch its new service. Primus started in 1997 to compete in the long distance telephony market, taking advantage of that year's deregulation of the Australian telecommunications industry.

With this new venture, the telco follows in the footsteps of MCI Worldcom, which acquired OzEmail, Cable & Wireless Optus, which acquired Microplex, AAPT, which acquired Connect.com.au, Davnet, which acquired Magna Data, One.Tel and Telstra. All but the last of these partnerships have been formed within the last six months.