Channel Partners

February 1, 2000

2 Min Read
Broadband Digital Launches Free DSL Service

Posted: 02/2000

Broadband Digital Launches Free DSL Service

While the proliferation of free communications services makes the launch of free
Internet access old hat, a startup venture has tried out a new look with the announcement
of free digital subscriber line (DSL) service.

Broadband Digital Group ( has
begun registering users for FreeDSL, which will offer DSL services free to end users.
Service activation is slated for April.

While Broadband has secured $3 million in initial funding from IMI IV, an Orange
County, Calif.-based venture fund, a partnership with Winfire ( and advertising sponsors will enable
the service to be offered free to users.

Winfire is the developer of the personalized Browser Assistant, a small navigational
bar displayed on users’ computer screens while they are online. It has designed a
private-labeled FreeDSL Browser Assistant for Broadband Digital. A user cannot close the
Browser Assistant while using the FreeDSL service, and the navigational bar will display
ads of the service’s sponsors the entire time a FreeDSL user is online.

Partnerships with CLECs and ILECs around the United States will provide the actual DSL
service, though no partner service providers have been named, according to a company

Broadband Digital, a startup based in Newport Beach, Calif., is the latest project of
Internet entrepreneur Ryan Steelberg, who co-founded online AdForce (, an advertising management company, and
AdSmart (, an online advertising
network. CMGI Inc. ( recently acquired
those companies.

While Steelberg recognizes that FreeDSL will compete directly with free Internet access
offerings from companies such as NetZero Inc. (
and Free Networks Inc. (, he plans to
take on traditional and cable modem service providers.

"We’re shaking up not only the free dial-up ISP market, but also the paid DSL and
cable modem service providers that are charging anywhere from $40 to $60 per month for
service," Steelberg says.

When signing up, potential FreeDSL users must provide basic information such as where
they live and their age group. Broadband Digital then will provide demographic and
geographic information to
its partners to help them market to FreeDSL users.

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