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Free Internet Access

© 1999 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Tired of paying monthly Internet access fees? Ready to cut expenses?

Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to using the new free Internet access services. I have just tested out NetZero on a PC, and I can testify that it works. The open question is whether you are ready to pay the non-monetary price of the free service.

The software is reasonably easy to set up. Here's the way it works...

  1. Go to
  2. To read the information, click on Enter Main Site and select Join NetZero.
  3. To download the software and join, click on the DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE button.
  4. On the Join NetZero page, click on the Full Download link in The ZeroPort section.
  5. Read the terms and click on the Accept button.
  6. To start the download, click on the FTP NetZero button.
  7. When you see the File Download box, choose Save this Program to Disk and select a directory for the file.
  8. After downloading the 4.59 megabyte file completely, double-click on the file to set up the software.
  9. When prompted, give your choice for your own Member ID.
  10. Give your choice for your own password.
  11. Specify a question that you can always answer in case you forget your password.
  12. Specify whether you will use this account for business or pleasure.
  13. State whether you are under or over age 18.
  14. Specify your area code and choose one of the dialup numbers that come up for your area.
  15. Wait while the software dials NetZero from your computer and confirms your ID and password. After confirmation, the software sets up your NetZero account.
  16. After setting up your account, the software logs off and dials up again to confirm that the setup is working correctly.
  17. You see the congratulations screen and you receive your new e-mail address.

Now to use the NetZero Internet access...

  1. Double-click on the NetZero icon on your desktop.
  2. Type in your Member ID and Password.
  3. If you have not yet filled out your profile, you must fill it out before using NetZero.
  4. Each screen displays one question, and most of the questions concern your demographic data.
  5. After you finish filling out the Member Profile, you are finished, and you can access the Internet for free.

Of course, your screen will always display an advertising bar containing ads customized for your demographic. That ad bar remains on screen as long as you are connected to the Internet with NetZero.

NetZero does not work with Eudora Pro for sending and receiving e-mail, but NetZero does work with the free version, Eudora Lite. If you aren't wedded to using Eudora Pro, you can use the e-mail software included with NetZero.

There you have it —free Internet access is really here. If seeing an ad bar every time you log on seems a fair trade for free access, and you don't insist on using Eudora Pro, NetZero may be for you.

~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at



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