In a back-to-basics move, Ihug has begun targeting new dial-up users with $19.95 "starter packs" in dairies and other shops.
Director Nick Wood says the new sales channel, which is also being pursued in Australia, is doing "quite well" for the company.
The packs allow customers to sign up for Ihug and provide the first month's access although Wood won't reveal all the details of the arrangement with retailers.
In contrast to last year, when free ISPs seemed to be squeezing out standard dial-up as a paid service, forcing ISPs to concentrate on high-speed offerings, Wood says dial-up "is where people are still joining in droves. Most people still aren't prepared to spend $60 for their internet access. The people who switch to broadband are the ones who've been connected for a while and have decided it's something worth having."
Wood expects the pressure to now go on the Clear-owned Zfree, which has stopped taking new registrations but is now the last ISP offering free, unlimited access.