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Xtra makes it 100,000 and counting
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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2 Apr 1998

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In a press release issued yesterday, XTRA, New Zealand's largest ISP, announced it had just signed up its 100,000th subscriber.

"When XTRA launched in May 1996 we believed that our entry into the market would have a positive impact" said Ian Scherger, marketing manager for Telecom Internet Services. "We attracted 10,000 customers in just 72 days; we started 1997 with 33,000 customers and today we had our 100,000th XTRA registration - this is a major milestone for us."

XTRA are now claiming to have a subscriber-base large enough to make it New Zealand's 8th largest city. In fact, XTRA are claiming that they have formed an online city. Scherger calls it "a distinct community, a major center of activity comprising communities of association, geography and interest".

The press release is a little ambiguous however. The claim "today we had our 100,000th XTRA registration" and "XTRA now has 100,000 customers" surely implies that nobody who ever registered for XTRA's ISP service has ever changed their mind. This minor detail aside, XTRA's recent initiatives in the area of e-commerce, online travel and the like are certainly increasing it's presence in the marketplace.

Despite early claims that XTRA's huge capital base and monopoly access to certain Telecom services such as the monthly customer newsletter supplied with each phone account, the vast majority of other ISPs have continued to thrive in a growing marketplace.

Latest figures from AC Neilsen indicate that 1.2 million New Zealanders now have access to the Internet, up from 625,000 12 months go. Some observers query the usefulness of this figure however, and consider a more important metric would be the number of people who not only have access, but use it on a regular basis.

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