The Internet Group (Ihug) is about to open an office in San Francisco.
The company has been progressively relocating hardware to the US end of its satellite network this year, but the new office will see it go full-fledged into business, offering both dial-up Internet access and retail PC sales.
The San Francisco office, which will open in four weeks, is the first of several planned for California, according to Ihug director Tim Wood - will also provide 24-hour support for Ihug's US-based hardware, including its user homepages machine, which was loved to the US earlier this because of the weight of international traffic.
The new office will, like those the company has established in Australia, go under the name The Internet Group (TIG), rather than Ihug. It also represents the important for bandwidth wholesalers of managing the US end of services - a significant shift from the model of a year or two ago. Telecom's Netgate service also established a California POP earlier this year. Wood says Ihug now onsells bandwidth to 18 ISPs in Australia and New Zealand.
High demand for Ihug's service has also seen the company set up another uplink in the Los Angeles area, says Wood "giving a much broader scale of redundancy". Napa remains the primary point of exit.
Wood says the company's retail PC offerings in San Francisco will be sweetened with bundled Internet access.
"The size of the US market means that a small market share to begin with can be quite large in comparison with NZ," says Wood. "Using our bulk buying discounts TIG will be able to compete on the local market very succesfully."