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Broadband Digital Group Unleashes Free DSL Service

Broadband Digital Group Monday launched FreeDSL, offering free, high-speed Internet connectivity.

Broadband Digital Group is the latest venture of Internet entrepreneur Ryan Steelberg, whose record includes co-founding online advertising management company AdForce, and AdSmart, both which were acquired by CMGI Inc. (CMGI) last year.

FreeDSL is currently offering registering services to potential clients, with activations scheduled for early in April.

Steelberg, Broadband Digital chief executive officer, said the company's free DSL offering is going to wake-up both advertisers and consumers.

"We're shaking up not only the free dial-up ISP market, but also the paid DSL and cable modem service providers that are charging anywhere from $40-$60 per month for service," he said.

"With FreeDSL, we're also unleashing new opportunities for advertisers and Web developers who have wanted to reach online consumers with high-bandwidth advertising and content, but couldn't because most Web users access the Net with slower dial-up modems.".

"We're changing all that by delivering on the promise to bring free DSL service to the masses."

The California-based company has already received more than $3 million in initial funding from IMI IV, an Orange County venture fund.

FreeDSL will be made available free to consumers through support from advertisers and a strategic partnership with Winfire, developer of the personalized Browser Assistant. In cooperation with Winfire, Broadband Digital Group has developed a private-labeled FreeDSL Browser Assistant, a small navigational bar displayed on users' computer screens while they are online.

The FreeDSL Browser Assistant can be positioned to any location on the computer screen but cannot be closed, and must remain visible on the desktop as long as users are connected through the FreeDSL service.

To participate in the FreeDSL service, users must provide basic demographic and geographic information, and may be asked in the future for more detailed personal information. The company's initial offer includes a free DSL modem and a free copy of the Winfire Browser Assistant.

While Broadband Digital Group is initially targeting consumers, it also plans to make the FreeDSL service available to businesses. The goal, according to Steelberg, is to create the largest high-speed network with interactive and IP telephony service offerings in the nation.



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