Australian-owned ISP Free Net has joined the Cisco Powered Network (CPN) program.
Free Net offers free unlimited Internet access to users who provide the ISP with "non-intrusive" demographic details.
The CPN program is designed to assist and endorse ISPs using Cisco equipment that offer high levels of quality and reliability.
Eight companies from Australia and New Zealand have qualified for CPN -- Cisco's highest network rating.
Free Net is one of only two ISPs to have qualified for the rating in Australia, and the only non-telecommunications carrier to meet the CPN standard, according to Free Net's CEO, Abbas Aly.
AAPT's Connect.com is the only other ISP in Australia to have qualified for CPN status.
Open to service providers who offer network-based services to the public, the CPN status is approved by Cisco on a per-service basis.
Since opening to the public on November 7 this year, Free Net has signed up 10,000 customers, and is adding new users at the rate of one every minute, Aly said.
He said advertiser interest was very strong with a number of deals being finalised including those with Quicken, 3Com, Nortel, and Compaq which plans to distribute Free Net connection software with its notebooks.