isp questions

Does anyone here have experience with one of the free or reduced-rate internet service providers? Is there any difference in quality from a major one like Prodigy (which I now have) or AOL? I’ve heard some say that there is no technical support, which is how they can offer the service so cheap. But, when I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever even used technical support for the provider I now have.

Is it worth saving the few bucks a month? Because I’d sure like to…

(Oh, and I guess I’m dense. How can I dial, as I saw advertised, 1-800-NETZERO when there is no “Z” on the telephone? Is there something obvious I’m not aware of?)

Thanks for any help!

Save the money and go with a cheaper provider. There usually isn’t much of a difference, and if you cared about quality and service, there are better companies than Prodigy and AOL. :wink:

Try not to go with a free ISP, unless you’re just starting out and just want very basic service until you know your own usage levels. Free ones in my country were at times hard to log on to during peak usage periods, charged per minute for tech support, and were loaded to the rim with ads. A free ISP is also a service continuity risk, as they are especially vulnerable to shifts in the market, IMHO. I fled my free ISP when they announced closure last year – but it had served the purpose of getting me hooked. :slight_smile:

On some telephones, the “9” is shown as WXY and Z. Use “9” for “Z.”

The free NetZero service is a pain. You only get 10 hours of connect time per month, and they force a fairly large ad banner onto your screen. The connection tends to be slow, in part because of the ads that are being pumped down to the banner.

The $9.95 a month NetZero service is what I use, and have been very happy with. There’s no time limit, though if you stay connected all day, every day, listening to 'net radio, they’ll eventually can you. I’ve never gotten a busy signal, I get a dropped connection no more than once or twice a month (may have more to do with the quality of my local phone service than with NetZero, of course), and the connect speed is almost always faster than 40k, ranging up to around 48k. On the pay service, you get a skinny little tool bar at the top that you can easily ignore, and there are no ads. No popups and I get almost no spam at all on my NetZero email (unlike the hotmail account I also maintain).

NetZero email is also now web-accessible; in other words, if you’re sitting at an Internet kiosk in a motel lobby, you can retrieve your NetZero email by going to