ZipLink wants piece of ISP market

A three-week-old company believes it has a place in the crowded national ISP market.

Even with the dizzying number of companies that have entered the Internet service business, some think there's still room in the national market--including one entrant that's only three weeks old.

ZipLink today acquired the technology division of Rupert Murdoch's iGuide Net operation in hopes of entering the crowded ISP market.

ZipLink purchased 27 Internet access lines from iGuide in major cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Washington, D.C. The company currently has about 1,000 beta testers in the New England area but says it is prepared to provide nationwide service by the end of the year. Murdoch's News Corporation will continue to provide content for iGuide.

ZipLink firm previously operated a national paging service, and company representatives say they have lots of experience battling the telephone giants that have been entering the ISP business in increasing numbers over the past six months. "We are used to competing with the major phone companies and a variety of other entities," said Christopher Jenkins, ZipLink vice president of operations. "We feel we are going to move very quickly."

The company will charge $16.95 per month for unlimited Net access and plans to lower that figure as it rolls out service in more areas, Jenkins said. NetCom, AT&T, and most of the other national ISPs currently charge $19.95 per month for unlimited access.

Although the company has only 45 employees, Jenkins said he expects ZipLink to hire hire another 100 in the next two or three months.

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