Free Internet Access
Despite the flurry of stories in the media lately about the supposed decline of freebies and free services on the Web, we've found that Net users today in fact have a broader range of freebies to choose from than ever before. The one exception to this is the category of free Internet access providers.
The number of free Web access providers has declined sharply in recent years, as the industry has seen a number of players consolidate or go out of business. However, there are still a number of free ISPs in the U.S. (although most providers no longer offer free, unlimited usage). And free Net access providers continue to thrive in other countries, particularly in Europe.
We don't recommend any of these services for use as your primary Web connection, if you need solid, reliable service. Still, the free services reviewed below are handy for use as a backup service, if your primary provider experiences downtime. They also provide a convenient way for you to get online, if you're on the road.