RealTime IT News

1stUp.com Launches Fee-Based Offering

1stUp.com Monday launched a new co-branded Internet service free of obtrusive banner advertisements.

Its entry into the fee-based dial-up service segment is designed to provide 1stUp.com's distribution partners with private label Internet access.

As a part of its new billable service offering, 1stUp.com also enables its distribution partners to offer corporate Internet accounts for employees' home use.

Bill Daniher, 1stUp.com billable services general manager, said 1stUp.com decided to deliver the fee-based access to its partners due to increased demand for e-mail branding solutions.

"While the demand for free Internet access continues to grow rapidly, businesses are looking to brand and distribute a fee-based tier of premium access, which 1stUp.com can easily deliver through our dial-up network,'' Daniher said.

Steve Harris, Integrated Data Corp. senior research analyst said an Internet service provider that can deliver a nationwide network service launch would have a substantial edge over ISPs new to co-branding access on a regional basis.

"Private label or virtual ISP services will be a huge new channel for ISPs as businesses, organizations, and affinity groups come to realize the value of offering branded Internet access in order to obtain a closer relationship with their customers and members," Harris said.

1stUp.com currently delivers free dial-up access for more than 70 free ISPs including power portals AltaVista Co., Excite! Inc. (ATHM) and Lycos Inc. (LCOS). Its free Internet access service currently supports more than 2.5 million users.

In related news, 1stUP.com reported that it has the largest dial-up network in the U.S. and Canada.

The CMGI Inc. (CMGI) subsidiary has assembled an ISP network of more than 4,000 dial-up numbers in the U.S. and nearly 100 dial-up numbers in Canada.

Charles Katz, 1stUp.com president and chief executive officer, said it is committed to providing top-notch coverage in North American.

"With more than 4,000 dial-up numbers, 1stUp.com's ISP network is a strategic asset that provides our distribution partners with the assurance they need to launch a high-quality, branded Internet service,'' Katz said.

1stUp.com also reported its network traffic has grown 40 percent each month over the last three months. Its network provides coverage in all 50 states and 10 Canadian Provinces. The system has been built through a series of strategic relationships with leading service providers like AT&T Corp. (T), GTE Internetworking, (GTE) and PSINet Inc. (PSIX).