A recently announced deal between Mercury Communications and PIPEX means that local call access will shortly be available for many more UK mainland subscribers to the PIPEX service, which is marketed through the PIPEX DIAL scheme, and various resellers services.
The announcement will be welcomed by many dialup Internet users who are frequently faced with engaged tones as they attempt to connect to the Internet. PIPEX's vPOPs will go live in early June. Combined with PIPEX's completion of a major upgrade programme, the new virtual POPs will provide close to 90% of the UK population with high speed local call dialup access to the global Internet.
Dialup customers accessing the Internet, either through one of a number of PIPEX resellers or using PIPEX's own recently launched personal Internet solution, PIPEX Dial, will be able to connect initially from via 30 major cities across the UK.
All PIPEX POPs, physical or virtual, are equipped with the latest fast (V34) modems and additional locations will be quickly added ahead of demand.
"This is one of the most important partnerships to hit the Internet industry - it will revolutionise the dialup market," explained Tom Kermeen, Sales Marketing Manager for PIPEX's dialup network. "It's clear where providers of dialup Internet access have gone wrong.
"Too much attention is focused on getting as many users as possible connected without thinking about how to support and service them once they are connected.
"Users are weary of engaged tones - what people want is their e-mail, not excuses or delays! Our virtual POP programme coming on the heels of a tripling of capacity at our physical Points of Presence massively increases the size of the PIPEX dialup network, so people will be able to connect first time, every time to secure and professional POPs."
Kermeen added: "And remember that users connecting to the PIPEX dialup network are connecting to the biggest and fastest commercial Internet backbone in Europe. Not bad for the price of a local call!"
The PIPEX vPOP network will have the ability to intelligently re-route calls if any part of the network is unavailable for any reason in a particular location - for example users in Cardiff will still be able to get through on a local call if the Cardiff POP is down because they will be automatically routed to the next nearest POP at no extra cost.
PIPEX has recently added locations in Belfast and Birmingham to its physical POP network which already includes sites at London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Warrington, Edinburgh and Bristol.
The company has also doubled capacity at Edinburgh and Warrington.