Excite@Home unveils free Internet access

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In what is quickly becoming a hot trend, Excite@Home Jan. 6 kicked off a free Internet access service called Freeworld Powered by Excite. The new service is backed by technology from CMGI-majority owned 1stUp.com Corp., a company that creates customized ad-supported Internet access, for companies including AltaVista Co. and Online Partners.com (gay.com). The service, which is available at (freeworld.excite.com), will offer users dial-up access for users with modem speeds up to 56K. Excite@Home will continue to charge for its high-speed cable Internet service, and said it hopes the free service will allow it to upsell consumers to the paid service.

Free Internet access providers are gaining momentum, including NetZero , which has more than 2 million subscribers. Last month, Juno Online Services (juno.com), which offers Internet access and free e-mail, announced free ad-supported access as did Yahoo! through a co-branded site with Kmart Corp.'s site BlueLight.com. Jupiter Communications predicts that 13% of all online users will access the Web through a free service by 2003.

Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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