Choosing the right dial-up provider can be cumbersome. A new study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that the majority of dial-up Internet users would not consider moving to broadband Internet service regardless of its availability. This means that there is still a sizeable core of consumers for the dial-up market. Still, all dial-up providers are not created equal and choosing the right one may take a little time. This article takes a comparative look at some of the nation’s top dial-up Internet service providers.
PeoplePC, an Earthlink company, offers some of the best rates around, $10.95 without a security suite and $15.95 with it. PeoplePC has no limits on usage, offers e-mail virus scan, spam and pop-up blockers and boasts a selection of more than 8,000 access telephone numbers from which to dial in. It was the first low-cost service to offer Internet call waiting in 2005.
America Online, a name once synonymous with dial-up Internet access and now a division of Time Warner, has lost its commanding spot at the top of the dial-up food chain in recent years. Relatively high costs for dial-up access coupled with lag times and connection drops have combined to make AOL less competitive than it once was. AOL instant messenger remains popular, however, and AOL’s main page is among the easiest to navigate for new users.
NetZero has finally gotten into the DSL game but it is still most known for its once-free dial-up service. NetZero’s low cost access package costs $9.95 per month for unlimited usage and $14.95 for accelerated access. These are some of the lowest prices you’ll find but the connection is often slow. On the plus side, the accelerated package comes with Norton Anti-Virus.
Juno Internet service, at a monthly fee of $9.95 offers a reasonable product for two thirds to one half the price of almost all other dial-up services. Also, offering pop-up blockers and Norton Anti-virus, Juno claims to block spam e-mail but does a half-hearted job of it at best. Juno’s connectivity seems much more stable than AOL’s or NetZero’s.
Dial-up is not dead in the US, not by a long shot and until broadband becomes more accessible and less expensive, there will be a significant dial-up market. Also, many ISP’s do not reach rural areas and for this reason, Satellite Internet Providers will also eat into the broadband market share. So, which one would you choose?