Veteran Internet service provider PSINet Inc. announced today it will use technology from NetCentric Corp. to let customers send faxes via the Internet.
The new service, dubbed Electronic Paper, will let clients order a set amount of "paper" per month. Faxes sent over the desktop will be charged based on length and geography.
Pete Wills, chief operating officer of PSINet, of Herndon, Va., said his company is hoping corporations will appreciate the pricing scheme.
"A lot of customers have asked for budgeting capability and predictability. They don't want to get into an unlimited rate or usage gain," Wills said. "This will provide some control over that until they determine what their real level of business usage is. There's also tracking of actuals available in multiple levels, so you're able to have accountability for communication costs."
PSINet will display current fax rates on a World Wide Web site, so users can see how much a fax is going to cost before they send it.
"It might be so many minutes long, but a minute to the U.K. won't be the same as a minute to Zimbabwe," Wills said. "This is probably more interesting to people doing international work as opposed to cross-country work."
PSINet, which will begin taking orders for the technology today, hopes to have the service up and running by January.
Under the terms of the deal between PSINet and NetCentric, PSINet will license NetCentric's POPWare technology but use it under its own brand.
John Fleming, vice president of marketing at NetCentric in Cambridge, Mass., said the company expected that faxes would be one of the first uses of its POPWare platform.
"We built it to be a multiapplication platform. Fax-style technology was the one we figured most users would adopt first," Fleming said. "If you look at the market over the last year, it's evolved from connectivity and E-mail to Web site hosting to a major provider like PSINet moving to offer this new value-added environment."