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IDT Inaugurates Free Services

IDT Corp. Tuesday tossed its hat into the free Internet access area with the introduction of its FreeAtLast.com communications services.

IDT's (IDTC) FreeAtLast.com offers subscribers free Internet, faxing, e-mail and calling services. Known more as a leading multinational telecommunications carrier switched gears to focus on advertising revenue supported Internet telephony services and unlimited dial-up access.

Howard Jonas, IDT chairman and chief executive officer said it has further ignited a revolution in the communications industry.

"The way people access information and communicate with one another is being completely overhauled," Jonas said. "Just as radio and broadcast Television are free public services, IDT believes the Internet should be free as well.

Jonas noted that its free Internet services are differentiated from rival offers because it includes software that allows subscribed to access free Internet telephony services.

FreeAtLast.com is currently being rolled out in most major U.S. markets in the United States. While the free Internet service is similar to other no-fee ISPs advertiser supported business models IDT believes it distinguishes its service from competitors by providing subscribers with a complete Internet-based communications suite.

Other free online services typically bombard a user's screen with constantly flashing banner ads and other distracting on-screen displays. But FreeAtLast.com services deliver advertising and other promotional content in an unobtrusive manner.

IDT delivers advertisers precision targeted services based on individual user demographics and content affinities. FreeAtLast.com guarantees that it adheres to the highest standards of privacy for every user that subscribes to the service because each subscriber's identity remains anonymous and no user data is ever collected, stored, or sold to third parties.

Jonas said no subscriber should have to worry about where their personal information and Web surfing habits are being watched or collected to be sold to marketers.

"Respecting the privacy of our customers is paramount for IDT and one of our guiding principles," Jonas said.

IDT contends that its years of experience in the Internet industry gives it the technical expertise and competitive edge needed to succeed in the free ISP marketplace. IDT is an established Tier 1 Internet access provider and also operates a private national fiber optic backbone.

Jim Courter, IDT president said its telecom experience provides the firm with a several advantages over outsourced free ISP services.

"There are literally thousands of ISP's out there today," Courter said. "What separates IDT from the rest is our long history in the industry and our proven track record of delivering high quality, reliable Internet access. We are confident IDT has the resources, experience and expertise needed to make our free ISP model a long-term success."

Earlier this year Frank Gens, International Data Corp. senior vice president said the research firm's analysis of the free access marketplace indicates that free ISPs are in no rush to meet with the financial realities of such business endeavors. But he added that large cash outlays would not stop ad supported business models from continuing to launch free service offerings throughout the year.

According to Gens, free Internet access, devices and software are commonplace. However IDC contends that the smart companies will put network effects to work in their business models, radically expanding their electronic channels, to become resources for other industries.