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Fred Net Access or Free PC?

Techstination feature for Friday, September 10, 1999

To free or not to free, that is the question. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. Yes you can get a computer for free, or nearly for free these days. But before you do, read the fine print and do some math. Just about every sale price you see includes a three hundred dollar or so rebate that requires you to sign up for several years of Internet service at roughly 20 dollars per month. Another option is to pay the price without the rebate and sign up for free Internet access instead. AltaVista launched its FreeAccess service last month...

"We launched it last than a month ago and we have just about three hundred thousand users, almost a third of a million users online already, which is tremendous. We've grown at a rate ten times faster than any of the competitors who've been in the business and we expect to have over a million users by the end of the year. And we believe this is really going to be the wave of the future."

AltaVista VP Charles Rashall. The catch... and there's always a catch... is the banner ad window from FreeAccess that stays on your screen for as long as you stay online. It can get annoying, but you may just find it worth saving twenty dollars a month. Anyone can sign up and there are local access numbers covering most of the country. The site is