From: Norman J. Jacknis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Dec 26 1999 - 22:10:50 EST
FREE NET ACCESS SEEN STANDARD IN 2000
Basic Internet service will be free within 12 months, according to New
York-based market analysis firm Datamonitor. Technology analyst Rob Shavell
Tuesday said no-cost access service has proven very successful for
companies including Yahoo (YHOO), Netzero (NZRO) and AltaVista, and free
e-mail provider Juno Online (JWEB) is the latest company to seize the
free-access spotlight. "The Internet service providers can make money by
building customer bases and then delivering target advertising to them,"
Shavell said in an interview with CBS.MarketWatch.com. "It has come to pass
that it is more important for them to get acceleration in customer numbers
than it is to get those people top pay them $5, $10 or $20 a month."
Datamonitor's vision of free Net access spells a challenge for major
providers such as America Online (SOL), EarthLink (ELNK) and AT&T (T).
Shavell said he doesn't think those companies will go out of business as
long as they shift toward providing premium, high- speed services. "So
they're going to have to partner up with the people that have DSL, the
telcos, and the cable infrastructure, the cable TV companies." Shavell also
said existing ISPs, including AOL, will be forced to offer free service. If
they don't, their customer bases won't grow, which in turns would hurt
their e-commerce efforts, Shavell said. "The established ISP's out there
are caught between a rock and a hard place."
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