Inexpensive international faxing over the Internet may soon be coming to a fax machine or PC near you.
Beginning in February, AimQuest Corp. expects to offer faxing over its roaming service for ISPs (Internet service providers), said Stuart Froman, director of marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif., company.
AimQuest links ISPs globally so they in turn can help their customers save money by offering local dial-up connections from other countries. AimQuest's consortium of ISPs, called the Global Reach Internet Connection, currently offers local dial-up links in 250 cities in 25 countries, officials said.
With the new service, customers who subscribe to any of AimQuest's 35 member ISPs should be able to send faxes at considerably lower cost than transmitting them over standard phone networks, Froman claimed. Users with stand-alone fax machines will be able to send their faxes via a small box that sits atop the machine and costs about $100. PC fax users will be able to use a Windows application from AimQuest, which will be distributed by ISPs at a yet-to-be-determined price.
Other companies are providing Internet faxing, although users subscribe to their services via a single ISP rather than a consortium. One such offering is through an alliance between Symantec Corp. and NetCentric Corp.
The popularity of global Internet faxing services could be appealing in some cases. "It depends on how often you are in a foreign country," said Steve Koss, IS manager for the Oakland Coliseum, in Oakland, Calif. "If there's a cost benefit, people will do it."