Lycos Europe Offers PC-to-Phone Calling

LONDON (07/17/2000) - Comundo, an Internet service provider operated by Lycos Europe, said Monday it now offers a service enabling its registered users to place long-distance telephone calls over the Internet from their PC.

Comundo offers the service through a partnership with Access Power Inc., a company based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, that offers Internet telephony technology and services. Access Power has agreed to let Comundo offer a co-branded version of its own Net.Caller telephony service, Comundo said in a statement.

The service is available now to Comundo's more than 1.2 million registered subscribers in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the U.K., and will allow them to make long-distance calls from their PC to any conventional telephone, the company said. Calls can be made to any of 15 European countries, as well as to the U.S. and Canada.

IP telephony can allow users to avoid costly long-distance fees by making calls over the Internet, and has been viewed by some as a threat to traditional long-distance carriers. Critics, however, point to shortcomings of the service, such as quality-of-service issues and the fact that the Internet isn't as reliable yet as the public telephone networks.

To use the service customers must download the necessary Net.Caller software to their PC. Comundo said it will offer the first 30 minutes of usage each month for free, with additional minutes available at a flat monthly rate.

For US$20 per month, the European Plus plan allows calls to be made to regular phones in 15 European countries as well as the U.S. and Canada. Users can also opt for the North American plan, which for $10 per month allows unlimited calls to U.S. and Canada.

Lycos Europe, a subsidiary of Lycos Bertelsmann GmbH & Co., operates Web sites with local-language content in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the U.K. and Ireland.

Access Power, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,can be contacted at +1-904-273-2980, or via the Web at http://www.accesspower.com/. Comundo can be contacted in England at +44-1932-581-403, or via the Web at http://www.comundo.com/.

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