Auckland-based ISP Orcon Internet has been on something of a spending spree snapping up four smaller ISPs in the last few months to round out its tally of 23 in the past three years.
Included in the buy-up is the customer base for SecureNet, the security-centric ISP at the centre of a contract dispute with Woolworths over its alleged interception of emails destined for Woolworths' executives (see Intercepted emails breached contract says court).
Orcon managing director Seeby Woodhouse says Orcon has bought the customer base and some of the technology but not the company itself.
"We haven't bought the company. We don't have anything to do with the court case with Woolworths".
Instead Woodhouse hopes to use the technology he's bought from SecureNet to offer high-end services to business customers.
"We can offer VPN solutions, 1000-bit encryption for email security, things like that."
Woodhouse says the spending spree is based in part on Orcon's wholesaling business rather than an intentional desire to go out looking for other ISPs to buy.
"We wholesale services to a lot of smaller ISPs in New Zealand and there's plenty of consolidation going on in the market place."
Woodhouse says some of the smaller ISPs are effectively one-man bands and when that man gets tired of the business or wants to move on to something else, Orcon is well positioned to take over the customers.
"We've got about 35,000 customers without including the wholesale customer base."
Orcon's customers aren't restricted to New Zealand either - the recent purchase of an Australian ISP means Woodhouse is able to offer national ISP services over the ditch as well.
Orcon Internet is also keen to sell its customer management software, iBill, which is currently used by around 80 ISPs.
"There are about 1000 ISPs in Australia so that's a good market to look at."
Woodhouse is also keen to take the product further afield, but says the Australian market is the company's first step.