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Freei Networks Pulls IPO

Free Internet service provider, Freei Networks Inc., has cancelled its plans for a $172.5-million initial public offering "in light of current market conditions," the company said in a regulatory filing.

The decision comes a few days after the Federal Way, Wash.-based ISP reportedly cut 30 percent of its workforce. As reported in the Industry Standard, Freei Networks, which is also known as FreeInternet.com, laid off 90 employees and notified an additional 40 workers that they would be let go.

Since the free service launch in December 1998, the company has grown to about approximately 2.2 million registered users as of March 26, 2000.

However, recently, virtually every bricks-and-mortar company has been giving away Internet access as a value-added service including Kmart (with its Bluelight.com) and Costco. This comes on top of ISP such as NetZero and Juno, which turned free earlier last spring.