ISP UUNET is poised to challenge international phone companies with the launch of an Internet fax service aimed at the $38 billion a year business fax market. "Until now, no company has made the investment to deploy a global fax infrastructure that takes advantage of Internet technology," said John Sidgemore, UUNET CEO, referring to over 100 specialised fax processors to be located in centres throughout the US, Europe and Asia.
UUNET's UUFax service, currently in beta testing and scheduled for release later this year, will let users send a fax anywhere in the world at a rate 35 to 55 per cent cheaper than sending a fax over long-distance phone lines.
But a UUNET representative warned that the level of savings would reflect local telecommunications environments. "It will be cheaper to send a fax from New York, where local calls are free, than from London or Tokyo," he said.
James Eibisch, an analyst with Input, said BT and Mercury should worry: "A considerable chunk of their revenue comes from faxes. So far they've been slow to react, but they'll have to become Internet players soon."
UUFax will support a range of fax transmission capabilities, including fax-to-fax, fax-to-desktop PCs and desktop-to-desktop, as well as sending email attachments to faxes.
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