Latest free ISP tries to hide face
Freedomi hides under desk as Register comes a-swooping
The UK is to get another subscription free ISP offering toll-free dial-up access to the Internet. An announcement regarding the launch of Freedomi.com is due to be made in the next two weeks or so, The Register has learned despite attempts to keep details of the service secret. At present exact details about Freedomi.com are still sketchy. It is not known exactly who is behind the service, how it will be funded or which telco is providing the technology infrastructure. What seems clear, though, is that the launch of Freedomi.com appears to have been bungled by the high-profile London-based Web design agency Hard Reality. It designed the site and registered the domain Freedomi.com on 24 May. A single web page containing scant information about the service and no contact details was removed this week after The Register repeatedly tried to speak to someone at Hard Reality. It has been replaced with one that says simply: "Freedomi coming soon..." But a search on Yahoo! still bears the result: "Freedomi -- with no local call or phone support charges." When this reporter was finally put through to someone at Hard Reality -by mistake - Keld Van Schreven was heard saying to the receptionist: "I've had journalists phoning all week. I can't speak to anyone now. I've got nothing to say for a week or two." He then hung up when this reporter introduced himself and asked for an interview. He refused to take a call immediately afterwards. Although it's feasible that Hard Reality is the company behind the new toll-free ISP it appears more likely that it has carried out the work on behalf of one of its many blue chip customers. And with a client list boasting the likes of Kellogg's, McDonald's, Heinz, Express Newspapers, Haymarket Business Publishing and DoubleClick it is possible that an equally well known brand is behind Freedomi. How pleased they will be about such an unceremonious public airing of a service to rival X-Stream, Screaming.net and BTInternet is another matter. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register
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