Something for nothing

What's on offer and how does it work? The Australian market for free ISPs is fairly new and there aren't many players at this stage, but the basics are all there. Free ISPs aim to provide a service similar to that provided by a paid service, but funded by advertising dollars instead of your hard-earned dosh. In the words of one free ISP, "Our service is expected to be a high quality service comparable to any of the paid access ISPs in Australia" (Go Connect). Only time will tell whether they deliver on the promise, but if you pay nothing, there is nothing to lose in trying them. There are two models of free ISPs at the moment: one offers untimed access to a limited number of Web sites and services, the other offers untimed access to an unlimited number of Web sites and services, but a program displays advertisements on your computer screen while you are connected to the Net.

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