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NET PROVIDER COMING TO AREA.

Byline: P.J. Huffstutter Daily News Staff Writer

Smart World Communications, a Danbury, Conn.,-based Internet service provider, will start offering ``free'' local on-line service in Los Angeles later this week.

Though members don't pay monthly on-line fees, they must buy the company's sign-up software, which retails for $69.95 and is available through the manufacturer and some local computer stores.

``We've been getting our customers through word of mouth,'' said Smart World executive Steven Daum. ``We're trying to grow very slowly, so our business will match our user base.''

Like broadcast TV, the Smart Internet service is supported by on-line advertising revenues: Companies buy full-screen ads on the service's home page on the World Wide Web.

``We're focusing mostly on national retail chains,'' Daum said.

Smart World launched its Internet service last fall. Today, it has more than 10,000 subscribers in nearly 600 cities, Daum said.

Getting on line in L.A., however, could be troublesome. Locally, the company initially plans to offer only 24 phone lines to Los Angeles users. The list of access numbers will be posted on the company's Web site at http://www.smart1.net by this weekend, Daum said.

``We'd like to establish a ratio of 10 users to everyone on line,'' Daum said.

The company lists which cities it services, retail outlets that sell its software and information on how to sign up at its Web site.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 14, 1997
Words:235
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