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Some resources to find free ISPs, and notes about some of them.

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Contents

Caveats

Telephone charges:

  • ISPs, including free ISPs, do not include free telephone service. If there is no local access number (or if the "local access number" is long distance for you), you will have to pay the long distance telephone charges.
  • See above -- just because an ISP labels a phone number as a "local access number" does not mean that it will be a local call for you -- you must make sure that it is a local number for you, by consulting the current list of free exchanges for your exchange published in your local phone book, or by checking with your operator.
  • (Aside: There are some numbers (I had one once, lost it) that you could supposedly call to check if a number was local by "punching in" the number. The one I tried to use was very much out of date -- call the operator if you have any doubt about what you find in the phone book -- I do not recommend these "punch in the number" services.)
  • At least one ISP offers what looks like free long distance telephone access by offering a 1-800 number. What he does (and he says so) is that he adds a $0.10/minute ($6/hour) surcharge to your ISP bill to cover the cost. It's not free!!

Most free ISP services:

  • force you to look at advertisements (which make your connection even slower)

Many free ISP services:

  • charge for support, sometimes $1.95 per minute

Some free ISP services:

Free ISP services are disappearing:

  • Those that still exist are offering something like 10 hours free, and then charging beyond that. You need to be careful. Some charges beyond the base are on a per hour basis -- you could rack up a big bill -- others are a fixed fee for unlimited hours.

Lists of Free ISPs

Low Cost ISPs

  • Wal-Mart Connect Internet Service -- $9.94/month for unlimited (well 700 hours/month -- if they are precise in their math, that's unlimited in February, and 20 or 44 hours short of unlimited in other months wink ). Requires software -- download is about 30 megabytes, also available on CD -- request by phone, mail, or pickup at (some) stores. Computer requires 16 MB of memory, among other things.

  • Juno -- doesn't sound like something I want to use -- $1.95 per minute for phone support, they can decide to bump you up to a $19.95 or $29.95 per month rate depending on your usage, or restrict your access to strange hours (4 AM). You must allow them to download some software to your computer for their computations (presumably sold to someone) and allow your computer to dial out at any time to report results. See http://www.all-free-isp.com/juno.php.

I'd recommend a more traditional ISP, like fast.net or enter.net.

Month-Month $19.95 (credit card only) 
Quarterly Prepay $16.95 (credit card only) 
Semi-Annual Prepay $15.95 (credit card only) 
Annual Prepay $13.95 (check or credit card) 

  • Enter.net -- looks to be about the same price as fast.net, with about the same policies re hanging, etc. I haven't used them, so can't report on my experiences. See http://www.enter.net/about.html. A (free) local exchange in Easton is 610/829-nnnn. $15.95 per month with a 3 month advance payment.

  • Local.net -- new one I just found, $9.95/month, might have access numbers in Easton (Pa., USA).


Contributors

  • RandyKramer - 27 Mar 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

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Topic revision: r3 - 2002-08-30 - RandyKramer
 
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