Pie Networks makes internet access publicly available

While internet users wait for WAP to take their emails out of their homes and offices, a newly listed company is offering the option via its public internet access terminals.

Pie Networks aims to have 900 of its Pie Link terminals installed in high-traffic locations around Australia, including shopping centres, airports, cafes and petrol stations, by the end of the year. It currently has 260 kiosks installed.

The company currently has contracts with Caltex, Shell and Kmart and has its terminals installed at their sites. It has also recently won a contract with the Victorian Department of Human Services to supply 128 terminals.

These terminals will be installed in the waiting areas of public hospitals and community health centres to provide the public with health information as part of the Victorian government's Better Health Channel Access Project.

Pie Networks listed on the ASX in April and raised $9 million. It plans to use half of the amount raised to increase the number of its terminals around Australia, about $1.5 million on marketing its brand name and $1 million on R&D, according to Campbell Smith, the company's managing director.

PieLink runs on Linux due to its reliability and robustness. "Because Pie Link is a public terminal, reliablility and robustness is a must. We have looked at and are still looking at alternative technologies and have always come back to Linux because it is still the most robust and stable platform we can find," said Smith.

The company's current R&D efforts include integrating vertical applications such as IP telephony, online banking and bill payment, and smart card applications with Pie Link. It is also working on "becoming its own ISP" and managing its own network in order to reduce its reliance on other ISPs.

Formerly called Eureka Technolgy, the company changed its name to Pie Networks to better reflect the focus of its business. An abbreviation for public internet and email networks, Pie Networks said the name change is necessary to market its PIE brand name. "We want to own the public internet or PIE space," Smith said.

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