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Tempo hijacks free ISP service bandwagon

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Tempo -- which claims to be the UK's fastest growing chain of electrical and computer superstores -- has pledged that all off-peak calls (6pm to 8am) made from a modem will be free when it launches its screaming.net service later this week. The fledgling ISP -- which has 44 stores up and down the country -- is providing the service in tandem with BT reseller Localtel, which already offers its consumers calls that are 10 per cent cheaper than BT. A spokesman for Localtel said the shortfall in revenue will be made up by advertising and a number of companies -- including IBM -- have already signed up for their share of banner space. "The Internet is the fastest growing medium in the nineties, just as Tempo has been the fastest growing independent electrical and computer superstore chain," said Michael Kraftman, deputy chairman, Tempo. "We don’t believe in letting our competitors have the upper hand… screaming.net proves it," he said. Delivered with all the subtlety of a cruise missile attack on Belgrade, Kraftman believes anything electrical retailer Dixons can do Tempo can do better - Dixons is behind Freeserve, the UK's number one ISP. Tempo's move follows a similar decision by X-Stream Network earlier this year to offer limited Net access using a toll-free number. The service proved so popular that a number of Net users complained that X-Stream failed to deliver the goods, although a spokeswoman for the ISP said today that many of the early teething troubles had now been sorted out. Ironically, X-stream was the first ISP in the UK to offer a subscription-free Net access service, although it wasn't until Dixons entered the market that the model really took off. ®

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