Dixons? free Internet service has snapped up more than 475,000 accounts after just eight weeks on the market.
The high street electrical retailer shocked the Internet industry when it launched Freeserve, and few believed it could survive as an ISP without charging (Newswire 22 September).
The Freeserve software was given out on CD-ROM at 9,000 Dixons, Currys, PC World and Link stores across the UK. According to the company, 40 per cent of customers are new to the Internet and 85 per cent of the Freeserve accounts have been active in the last 30 days.
Mark Danby, general manager of Freeserve believes the success of the service is simple, ?If people can get a similar service without having to pay #150 per year they will do so. It?s an easy buy.?
Leading UK ISPs have been bullish insisting that Freeserve will not encroach on their territory as there will always be discerning consumers who want quality service and content from a trusted provider.
Less than two weeks ago Yahoo launched a pay-as-you-go dial up access service with BT to attract consumers wanting Net access without entering a contract or a subscription fee (Newswire, 4 November). Yahoo Click costs a penny a minute above the local call charge.
Other ISPs like Demon and Compuserve have increased Web space and content offerings to tempt customers to stay. However, the attraction of free, unlimited Internet access has lead to an average of 8,500 people joining Freeserve each day.
At the time of the launch analysts were sceptical of Freeserve?s ability to support a large number of subscribers, and believed the company would withdraw the CD-ROMs if demand was too high.
Danby said this wasn't the case and that to cope with the huge growth of Freeserve, the company has invested heavily and has increased the bandwidth to the US, ?We will continue to invest as numbers grow, there is no ceiling,? he said.
Danby added that the company will introduce new content on travel, games, motoring, finance through partnerships within the next 10 days, while the number of channels will double over the next two months.
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