Sprint enters consumer Internet access market

Looking to broaden its focus beyond the business arena, US long-distance phone company Sprint has announced plans for a phased rollout of its first consumer Internet service.

Looking to broaden its focus beyond the business arena, Sprint has announced plans for a phased rollout of its first consumer Internet service, Sprint Internet Passport. The service will be offered initially to 200,000 existing Sprint customers on a "test drive" basis, with general market release expected to follow in the fourth quarter, the company says.

"It's something Sprint had to do," says Caroline Robertson, programme manager for International Data in Framingham, Massachusetts. "It had the business offerings there but really lacked a consumer focus. All the long-distance carriers have to feed the consumer market eventually."

Sprint has also announced that it will use Netscape's Netscape Navigator as the Internet client software for Internet Passport, and also include it in its boxed Internet package. The company expects to add support for other browsers by the end of the year. Netscape, for its part, will feature Sprint as one of the ISPs in its Netscape Navigator Personal Edition.

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