Optus offers free Internet security for its broadband customers

Optus has partnered with F-Secure to provide free Internet security to DSL and cable customers

Optus is offering a free Internet security suite to all its home and small business broadband customers.

From today all its DSL customers will be able to download the Optus Internet Security Suite. This follows from the launch of the service to its cable customers in late May.

Optus's most recent subscriber figures to March this year shows it has 407,000 DSL customers and 351,000 on cable.

The suite is provided by Finnish-based security firm F-Secure and has been customised for Optus subscribers. It features spam filters, antivirus, antispyware, a firewall and parental controls.

It is specifically designed for customers who do not have a comprehensive security suite installed on their PC, such as those provided by Norton, Trend Micro, AVG and McAfee, to name a few.

Mark Mulder, Optus' general manager, content and portals said the suite will be free until May 2008. He added that should customers download the suite before the May cut-off, they will still be eligible for a 12 months free subscription.

Customers who download now will most likely pay a small fee come renewal time next year, he said. Although a specific figure has yet to be determined by the company. He said Optus may also choose to maintain the zero cost; that is yet to be determined.

"We want to see if customers value it. We'll try not to gouge customers at the end of the period," Mulder said.

The service is also offered to dial up customers, but on a subscription basis, he said.

Optus says it is the first local ISP to offer a comprehensive Internet security suite to customers.

"Customers have an expectation their ISP would look out for them," said Mulder. "We feel it is a clear value-add to broadband customers: Everyone already provides the same pipes at the same price."

Although all customers in theory can access the service, those with Windows Vista installed will miss out as the suite, for now, is still not Vista compatible. Mulder said Optus was working with F-Secure for this to happen soon. Linux is also not supported at this stage.

Each subscription to the security suite comes with a three-user licence. The same applies for SOHO and small business users, but Optus said it might consider a 20 user licence in the future.

Hazel Hassan, PR manager for F-Secure APAC, said the Optus deal is the largest for the company in Australia to date.

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