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Find the perfect service.

HERE'S what they offer and where to get them - the pick of the ISP list. How do they make their money if they charge practically nothing? From online ads, share of e-commerce revenue and sponsors. One of the hidden drawbacks on most ISPs is the technical helpline, which is rarely free and, in most cases, will cost you between 50p to pounds 1 a minute.

BT: is pounds 9.99 per month for free calls from 6pm to midnight and at weekends, local call rate at other times. The new SurfTime rate is pounds 15.25 per month for unlimited access at the weekend and evenings and a pounds 29.25 per month fee for unlimited, 24-hour access.

Tel: 0800 800001.

NTL: Using, those using NTL phone lines pay 1p per minute. On April 17, they will pay nothing - free access, free calls, no ISP charges. Those with non-NTL phone lines will pay pounds 10 for a line adapter and have to use NTL for voice calls costing at least another pounds 10 every month.

Tel: 0800 952 4343.

TELEWEST: Like NTL, you pay pounds 10 for a line adapter and have to use voice calls costing another pounds 10 or so every month.

Tel: 0500 71 72 73.

ALTAVISTA: Costs pounds 2.50 per month for free Net access at any time, backed by MCI. You still have to rent a phone line, though and the service won't be available for at least another three months.

Tel: 0845 270 2279.

AOL: Content provider ISP, already struggling to compete with Freeserve. Charges pounds 9.99 a month, gives 10Mb of Web space, five e-mail addresses and access to exclusive content. Calls cost 1p per minute at all times.

Tel: 0800 3765432.

4UNET: Claims to be totally free - no call charges, no monthly rental charges - using 0800 numbers. Needs a special phone adapter and not available to cable users.

Tel: 0800 058 5555.

FREESERVE: Part of Dixons, this is the biggest ISP in the UK, but no longer the cheapest, even though it has no monthly access charges. You still need to rent a phone line and pay per minute for calls. It is the first serious casualty of the Phoney War.

Tel: 0990 500049.

COMPUSERVE: A long standing ISP which offers some content, with a large range of channels and a search engine, plus proprietary software - i.e. a disk you shove in your PC and which does all the set-up for you. Local phone rates as well as a pounds 10 per month.

Tel: 0990 000200.

DEMON: The UK's original ISP and still aspiring to be the best service around. It has 20Mb of free space and unlimited e-mail addresses for pounds 11.75 a month, plus local call rates.

Tel: 0181 3711234.

CALLNET: Launched in November of last year, this is another cable company which requires you to have a pounds 20 phone adapter - you get the money back in call credit. Net usage is limited, uses 0800 numbers, but there are no monthly charges.

Tel: 0171 3358300.

SCREAMING.NET: Pioneers of free access and free calls. Net usage is limited - though it was recently increased three hours at a time. There are no call charges during off-peak, providing users switch to Localtel as their phone company.

Tel: 0845 353 0121.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 11, 2000
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