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Y2kk Update: Okay, you want to be like everyone else in this keeping-up-with-the-jones world? Then you want internet. The problem is, most services actually charge you for their service! Darn, who would've thought? So out of the blue comes a dozen or so companies who will charge you NOTHING to for UNLIMITED FREE INTERNET ACCESS!!! But then you gotta ask yourself, do I feel that lucky? What's the catch? Read on, citizen, to find out which services are blessings and which would simply screw you over!
FreeWWWeb/Juno I 3Web I NetZero I FreeI I I-Freedom I WorldSpy I Yahoo Bluelight I Nettaxi I Altavista Spinway I Xoom I Excite Freelane I 1stUp KTVB I DotNow! I HomeFreeWeb, eh? I Address.com I Funcow I American Express Online I
1) Freewwweb.com at www.freewwweb.com:
My brother uses this one. It is one of a few companies that actually has good servers in Canada. It was really simple to set up this service and my only compaint is that occasionally, you'll get a busy signal. Actually, my second complaint is that the ad-bar is huge. Good thing that bar has a good design or else my eyes wouldn't haven't survived to this day. However, I must admit that Freewwweb 56k speeds are almost equal to if not the same as my current ISP that charges $25 a month! UPDATE-The ad-bar is gone (or was it ever there?)! Now, all you have to do is set home.freewwweb.com as your homepage. But now I've got 2 new problems: busy signals! I get so many stupid busy signals that it makes me piss in my pants (wait, that's not right...)! And second, it seems like you need to visit their homepage every hour because more than once now; I've been cut off of the internet after an hour of just surfing for my own stuff & never returning to that stupid homepage. It could've been just heavy traffic (but 3 times in 1 week?) so go ahead and sign up. If you're decent at setting up your dial-up connection in the dial-up folder, you won't even need to download anything!
Update - Well, so much for Freewweb... I'm going to miss those guys - I mean, a little not-bitter, not-sweet, and not-sour tear is stroking down my cheek right now for this blessed company that yielded me 3.2k/s speeds without those bloody, psycho-in-the-making advetisements... Freewweb got bought by Juno, a company that's really on the rise, & me don't exactly like Juno because they don't just have an ad bar; they sorta replace your entire desktop with their crap, in a manner of speaking... Can you say, a new AOL on the rise, boys and girls?
Update (Feb 2001) - Is JUNO still alive? My sister used to use them, but I've never downloaded their software. Considering Netzero has gone anti-freedom on me, I guess I'll be forced to look this ugly computer up. They killed my beloved FreeWWWeb!... Oh well, AOL, considering FreeWWWeb made no money anyhew, I guess it was only a matter of time until their servers were bought out...
Update (July 2001) - Well, looks like Juno's going to be the last, standing free internet company out there. They've just merged with NetZero, and it looks like the combined company will be the only, uh, company on the corporate block thingy...
2) 3web at www.3web.net:
Now this is the company that I use. They're truly Canadian and proud, so if you're American, ignore this offer. 3Web is partnered with Petro-Canada and you can purchase their CD from gas stations all over the country. They have servers in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, and a few other cities. Not much yet, but they're growing. The catch is that I get an advertisement bar that takes up 1/6 of my screen. On the other hand, because the advertisements remind me of Canadian television, I sort of enjoy them. 3web's access speed is about 15% slower than my ISP, but unlike Freewwweb, I've never gotten a busy signal! It's really easy to sign on to this company so I implore all Torontarians who haven't signed onto freedsl to pick up a CD when you're gawking at the gas prices.
Update (July 2001) - Well, it was bound to happen. I wish 3Web could keep their promise of unlimited free internet for life, and they tried real hard to keep their word. I respect that. But all good things must come to an end, and unfortunely, come July 15th, 3Web won't be free anymore. $10 CAN for unlimited access is still a great price, but still... it ain't free no more... Is there anything free on the internet anymore?
3) NetZero at www.netzero.com:
Netzero is perhaps the biggest freeisp company that I know of. They have thousands of locations all over America so if you're Canadian, stay away from this one. I know that you get a pretty bulky ad bar that you can move around anywhere but besides that, I can only guess that because they're rolling around in money, they would have pretty reliable service.
Update - Well, my brother loves NetZero now - he's been brainwashed by too many NBC Basketball game ads... NetZero has moved to Canada, eh, and I don't mind them that much since their ad banner is a lot smaller than I thought. I get some busy signals, but hey, if it's free - I shouldn't complain... but oh, trust me - I will complain until 1.1 speaker sets return to the rage...
Update (Feb 2001)- Damn those defenders of the goddam, free world! First they buy out practically half of the FreeISPs out there. And now that they have almost a complete monopoly, they're forcing users to pay if they exceed 40 hours a month! And I can't crack their software. Somehow, they record how many hours of internet your phone number uses, so even though my brother and I both have seperate accounts, we're stuck with just 20 hours each! I guess it's only fair to get limited free internet, but I used to like Netzero. They had the image of beinga corporation that cared. But I know, I know... it was only an image...
Update (July 2001) - Well, they've just merged with Juno. Don't know what'll happen after that. They still limit me to 40 hours, which sadly is the best deal out of all the remaining free internet companies besides maybe American Express.
4) FreeI at www.freei.net:
Freei sounded good to me. It has a small ad window (although I have never seen the size of it...) and offered service to Canadians, eh. You take an anonymous survey before you can begin internet access and allows you to access all those neat AOL stuff that my ISP won't touch. Then after downloading it, I finally found the worst problem of all: GASP! It requires Internet Explorer 5! I swear to God, I just hope I never install that Microsoft virus on my beloved Mycrowsoft network...
Update - Um, I feel pretty dumb now... I finally tried out FreeI and, um, it doesn't even have a single Canadian server in sight... It's all America, baby, just like that, uh, baby from America...
Update (Feb 2001) - Uh, I think these guys closed down. Either that, or they moved to Mexico to make toilets and chew bubblegum. But they're all out of gum...
5) I-Freedom at www.ifreedom.com:
Here's another huge FreeISP company. It has partnerships with online shopping centres like Amazon.com, CompUSA, Etoys and others so I suppose you may get discounts on stuff you buy. Ifreedom has thousands of servers all over America and Canada so I guess they've got the money to get those servers running properly... Then again, that's what we all could say about AOL and we all know that's not true... Geez, has anyone noticed how bad my grammar is when typing online?... You get 50MB webspace which is decent for no money, I suppose. However, this company has quite a strange catch: you won't see an advertisement bar on your screen. Instead, once in a while a pop-up ad will appear on your screen and your internet will freeze until you click on it... Crap. How am I supposed to download 60MB demos when I have to stay at the computer?... UPDATE - well, I'm using iFreedom now because, unbelievably, 3web hogs all my system resources! I've got no RAM left to run anything else but the internet! This problem is missing with iFreedom. The francophones who run this show have powerfu lservers that deliver really fast DNS searches and download speeds. The problem is... They kick me off the 'net after only 20 minutes of surfing if I don't click on their banner! I couldn't even leave my computer to download a stinkin' 6 MB file or else I'd be booted off! Unless you don't download large files or unless you've got a 20min timer in your brain, don't bother with iFreedom, no matter how fast it runs. I can't live like this I tell ya! I can't live like this!
UPDATE - Oh well, AOL, I had fun cheating iFreedom into not having any advertisements... Their service closes on October 13th or something of 2000. Now I'm stuck cheating their new owners, NetZero...
6) WorldSpy at www.worldspy.com:
Worldspy is another huge American company that seems to forego us Canadians for the time being... I can't seem to find out what the catch is. What kind of ad-bar do they use? How large is it? Well, the only thing I know is forums claim that Worldspy has speedy access so if I ever fly down South with the geese, eh, I'll check this service out. I also know that Worldspy is guaranteed to work with DSL so if you've bought a DSL modem and you don't want to pay for full DSL internet service, go with WorldSpy.
7) Yahoo Bluelight at www.bluelight.com:
I have Yahoo Bluelight installed on my brother's computer and I don't like it. They claim that there is a small ad window but if you ask me, it's pretty huge, especially when you've got that alladvantage bar sitting on top of it. The access is very slow, slower than 3web. But worst of all, there are so many busy signals! ARGGGHH!!! Well, on the bright side, you get a free membership at Yahoo, meaning a good e-mail service and web space at geocities. Well, those things aren't hard to get without Bluelight so that's not really a pro. By the way, Bluelight is in league with Kmart so if you have this ISP, you probably get discounts at their online store. Probably... UPDATE: After a week or so, the busy signals have dissipated and voila! This service actually runs quickly! Good speed and my brother is so used to alladvantage that he doesn't notice the ad bar... I guess I should recommend Bluelight now because my brother likes it, but I won't...
Update (Feb 20001) - Die, Bluelight, die!... Just had to get that out of my system...
Update (July 2001) - Uh, since Spinway and 1stUp have basically died, I think Bluelight has sort of died too.. Not sure about that, and I ain't jumping for joy either like I thought I would when this Bluelight thing went down.
8) Nettaxi at www.nettaxi.com:
Nettaxi was the first FreeISP company that I tried. I actually have a remnant of this TweakUI page at my Nettaxi webspace. I left them because I didn't like the banner they put at the top of my site... I never got to try Nettaxi Internet because I keep getting busy signals. They have so many Toronto numbers, yet I can't get through one of them! Well, if you want something positive about them, I still use their e-mail today. The e-mail is very simple to use and I use it as my fourth backup address... Their ftp access to your webspace is extremely fast... as long as you're not using their Internet...
Update (July 2001) - Yeah, these guys have been gone a long time. Haven't heard from them since their service even started.
9) Altavista Spinway at www.microav.com:
Ditto goes for Altavista. I tried their service because I use Altavista as my home-page anyways, but all I got were busy signals! I don't use their e-mail or any of their useless crap. I think that users of microav get discounts at online stores but who cares when you can't even log on? Spinway also seems to becoming more popular by spreading their ISP to address.com and Corel sometime soon. They probably have 1000 servers around North America by now, and I still can't bloody log into their ISP.
Update - Well, I hate Altavista's service, but my sister in London seemed to enjoy it quite a trickle or something... She claimed it was reliable; then again, she also said the technicians at her work were reliable and they did sorta screw over her internet connections quite a few times...
Update (Feb 2001) - Well, Altavista is dead in the FreeISP world. I heard Corel is dropping their support for Spinway too. Too bad - there were some good, no-banner cracks for Spinway somewhere out there on the net.
10) Xoom at freeisp.xoom.com:
Okay, don't even ask me about Xoom. I tried to get web-space from them 2 years ago, and I still can't log in! If I can't use my e-mail or web-space, how could I ever get into their ISP? Then again, miracles can happen, eh...
11) Excite at www.excite.com:
Don't know anything about this one. I just remembered that this one exists. I suppose that you have to put either Excite or their Webcrawler page as your homepage, but I'm just guessing.
Update (Feb 2001) - Well, Excite is still in the ball game as of February 2001. They call themselves Freelane, and I'm so desperate now that if they were in Canada, I'd actually use their free internet service...
Update (July 2001) - Well, pretty sure these guys are gone too. No biggy here. It's no like anyone used their service, or did they?...
12) 1stUp & KTVB ( I think... or is it KVTB?...) at www.1stup.com:
Well, this company services Canada. Once again, I have no clue what's good about it but it seems to have a lot of alliances with a lot of big companies. I'm not even sure if 1stup supplies free internet to other companies found on this page. AOL... I mean, oh well...
Update (Feb 2001) - These guys are probably dead. Bought out by Netzero or something. Oh boo hoo.
DotNow! at probably www.dotnow.com:
Um, me don't really know if this service tis excellent or not. When I tried to install it, it screwed up my Internet Explorer 5.5 (on second thought, I guess I like this service...) but it just wouldn't start it up! I cound't log on so I can't say if DotNow is fast or not, but as long as it has an exclamation mark on the end of its name, it just has to be good!
Update (Feb 2001) - Well, these guys are still free, but I've never been able to use them. Dotnow completely crashed my computer last time I tried it, and when I downloaded it onto my brother's computer, it didn't seem to have any service phone numbers anywhere in Ontario. Kinda weird, considering they're supposed to service Canada. And dammnit, Ontario IS Canada... (take that, Quebecois!)
Canada's HomeFreeWeb at www.homefreeweb.com (I think):
This is a service just for us Canadians, eh! I can't say that it has the fastest servers in the world, but they have goddam little baby servers in practically every Canadian city and town out there! This is the first ISP that actually has a server right here in my little Toronto suburb dubbed Oakville! I don't care if there's an ad-bar on the the top of the screen: they never kick me off of the net, and because I'm so close to a server, I'm getting speeds almost as blazingly fast like I did when I connected to Idirect (the fastest ISP server I've ever seen). Go 5k/s go! Go 5k/s go! (Well, 6k for you Victor. With my crap modem, I'm still stuck at 2k...) So Victor, if you're reading this and you haven't chewed into your Sympatico account yet, try this little bundle of joy!
Update (Feb 2001) - The damn bastards... HomeFreeWeb was the fastest free internet server I've ever used. For God's sake, they had a server right here in my town of Oakville! No ISP has ever had a non-DSL server in Oakville!... Anyhew, HomefreeWeb was bought out by Netzero... the bastards... makes life seem special, doesn't it?
Address at www.address.com (me thinks... me always guess...):
This little company tricked my little sister into thinking it was the best... You know, Spinway will own the Free Internet market sometime in the, uh, sometime or something... Spinway rules Altavista. Spinway will soon be the core of Corel's new internet service. And, well, they're getting real popular through Address as well... and my sister didn't even know she was debated over whether Altavista or Address had a better server system for users... Go figure... Call Spinway the Standard Oil Company of FreeISPs... except Spinway isn't leeching huge amounts of money off of its customers, but essentially, it's, um, kinda the same thing...
Canada's Funcow at www.funcow.com :
From 1995 to 1998 or something, the only thing I used was Internet Direct, a decently large internet company. For $1 a month, I got a new username and have unlimited internet access. It went faster than any server I've ever tried, they had perfect service, and they didn't care how many free months I used up. I would go to their office, pay $1 for a new username, then send my mother for another username, then when she went down, my brother would go up, and so on. I still have a dozen, unused usernames or so up on my shelf. Why? Because Idirect got sold out, to the goddam Look guys... Look is some stupid cable company that entered the internet service market by buying out my beloved ISP. Idirect was so damn good that I would've paid $20 a month just to keep it alive... Anyhew, the moral of the story is that Idirect used to own a little site called Tucows.com, a place that had some of the best software to download at the best download speeds. And besides, I loved cows back then. Check out http://cows.mycrowsoft.com if you don't believe me... Anyhew, when I heard about Funcow, I thought that maybe some Idirect refugees set up camp at a FreeISP thingy, so I have Funcow a try. Bad move on my behalf... Not only did it screw up my registry, but when I finally got it to work, it wouldn't exceed a 0.5kb a second download rate! The CNET bandwith benchmark claimed I was running on a 2.4 modem for Christ's sake! But if you're a Canadian who only uses ICQ or MSN Messenger or that crap AOL Instant Messenger thingy, and you already have the software on your hard drive, then give Funcow a try. It should run fast enough for text messages... at least, I hope it can...
American Express Online at http://www.amexol.net :
Don't know how good this ISP is, but I've heard that it's damn good. Fast service, nice customer service, a tiny ad banner, blah blah blah... yeah, right... I was saying the same thing about NetZero before it went evil on me... The only catch for this service is that you have to be an American Online card owner to sign up. As soon as this little service comes to Canada, I'll report on whether it's really that damn good or not.