On its first birthday, Easynet Ltd, the London-based company behind the Cyberia cafes in the UK, announced yesterday it is now using Mercury Communications Ltd’s so-called intelligent network of virtual points of presence to provide what it claimed was local rate dial-up Internet access to 88% of the UK population in 380 STD dialling code […]
On its first birthday, Easynet Ltd, the London-based company behind the Cyberia cafes in the UK, announced yesterday it is now using Mercury Communications Ltd’s so-called intelligent network of virtual points of presence to provide what it claimed was local rate dial-up Internet access to 88% of the UK population in 380 STD dialling code areas. Easynet has paid Mercury an undisclosed sum for 55 dial-in nodes to provide the coverage. It hopes that by Christmas it will be winning the majority of the 5,000 people that sign for Internet dial-up access each month in the UK, according to technical director Keith Teare. At present the company is a minnow in business performance terms, admitted Teare. Easynet already has an agreement with the BTnet unit of British Telecommunications Plc to provide all the leased lines to the cybercafes as well as the backbone for its dial-up service. Chairman David Rowe said that in effect, Easynet customers would dial in via Mercury and the company would deliver its services via British Telecom. The Mercury intelligent network offers local ISDN service on what Teare claimed was the largest ISDN network in Europe. He said British Telecom was either unable or unwilling to provide what Mercury had done and Rowe indicated that it was Mercury’s speed of delivery that won the day. Easynet France will be set up on October 1 with a single node in Paris, supplied by France Telecom. Rowe said he would like to develop the relationship with Mercury and parent company Cable & Wireless Plc outside the UK. Easynet’s managing director Grahame Davies said the company had turned down numerous offers of venture capital investment, but was sceptical regarding rumours of a possible flotation next year. Instead of seeking investment, he said its time to start making some money. Easynet has around 2,500 subscribers at present. The target of 20 new Cyberia cafes by the year-end has been abandoned because the franchise structure required for that speed of expeansion did not suit the company’s requirements, said Teare. He boldly predicted that in another twelve months Easynet would be the largest Internet access provider in the UK. Twelve months ago it had a bank of just six US Robotics Corp Sportster modems. In a day of announcements, the company also launched a record company, Cyberia Records Ltd, promising to emancipate artists from the situation of virtual slavery that currently exists in the recording industry, according to Rowe, citing former Sony artist George Michael as the most prominent victim of the barbaric system.