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  1. #1
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    Feb 2005
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    Inexpensive Dial-Up ISP options

    Does anybody know of an inexpensive dial-up ISP with dialup numbers all over the place? I usually use broadband but need dial-up for about a year. I used Netzero in the past and it has numbers in remote places. Netscape Internet didn't have dialup numbers in some remote locales. Any other ideas?
    Rich
    WebsiteMaven - Web Hosting Reviews, Guides, and Advice to Build and Promote your Web Site

  2. #2
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    I've had very good experience with NetZero before.
    Tyler Cole
    Eeek, a Blog

  3. #3
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    Hollywood, CA
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    My ISP timewarner provides free dialup in the US when traveling. Maybe your isp does the same?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Boise, ID U.S.A.
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    I have ATT Worldnet, and it works pretty well. By bundling it with my long distance plan it's only $12/mo for the internet part of the monthly bill. The set up for ATT Worldnet is a bit peculiar, because the account name is a long number, and the password is a long set of letters. These are not user selectable. The email name and password can be user selected. Customer support was helpful in providing me with the correct setting information, so I can use the generic Windows dialer and linux.

    How did you like Netzero? If it was good, maybe you should go back to them.

    Netscape annoys me as a company. It was a struggle to get them to respect my unsubscribe after I bought a CD for their lame Netscape 6 browser.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    US
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    597
    Check out PeoplePC

    http://www.peoplepc.com

  6. #6
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    Re: Inexpensive Dial-Up ISP options

    Originally posted by DevilDog
    Does anybody know of an inexpensive dial-up ISP with dialup numbers all over the place? I usually use broadband but need dial-up for about a year. I used Netzero in the past and it has numbers in remote places. Netscape Internet didn't have dialup numbers in some remote locales. Any other ideas?
    Heheh... you're asking for trouble. If your intent is to actually dial in from all over the place, particularly if you intend to dial in from multiple locations over the course of a week or even a month, then you'd better read the fine print to see if that's even allowed.

    For the networks with the most locations served by local dialup numbers, Earthlink followed by AOL are on top. Nationwide ISPs typically are wholesaling either directly from providers like Sprint, or an aggregator who gives them access to various networks like Sprint or WorldNet, MCI, Qwest, Level3 and so forth.

    A good ISP can provide you a number in an unpublished location. Don't let the lack of a published number dissuade you from inquiring, as most ISPs have a list of unpublished 'off-net' numbers which are billed differently than their published offerings, and may make one available to you for a small charge.

    In the ISP business, we don't use the term 'reseller' we use the phrase 'virtual ISP'. If you look closely at the dialup number for a given area, you'll notice it's the same number for many, many providers. Many consumers mistakenly assume coppernet and netzero are the same outfit because their dialup numbers are identical.

    Let's say you're in Podunk, UT where your provider offers only a couple of dialup numbers which appear to be on the Qwest network. What if that area (this is common in the rural American west) has its own telco provider, from whom Qwest leases its local POP? Your cheapo ISP's support tech probably won't know that it isn't really a Qwest POP, and will give you instructions valid only on modems Qwest owns. A better ISP will read you the correct settings (init strings and such) for that POP from their knowledgebase.

    As I was saying earlier, read the fine print. If a given provider offers nationwide numbers at a flat rate, it may very well limit you to the same network it determines is your 'primary choice' and charge you an off-net rate if you dial in from another backbone. I'll pick on one virtual-ISP provider, because they're probably the largest: YourNetPlus.com.

    Read the fine print in their contract. If you really want those 30 backbones and 8 networks from their wholesale-aggregator operation, you'll incur fees from each of the 8 networks you utilize.

    If you're 'reselling' their VirtualISP offering, you avoid those fees by agreeing to surcharges for customers who use multiple dialup locations on different networks. Since it's YNP's billing system, you the customer are automatically (and unwittingly) charged.

    My sample link to a thread backing up this story no longer functions, but there was an RV-targeted nationwide ISP which was a YNP virtual provider. They were severely burned a year or two ago when YNP decided to change that roaming policy, at the same time YNP arbitrarily stopped using their own call center in the U.S. to support its resellers, instead outsourcing to the cheapest outfit they could find in India.

    So, when their customers called in to complain about 'roaming surcharges' on their bills, if they were even allowed to dial in from networks they'd used the day before, they were speaking for the first time to a brand-new, all-foreign support staff who had no idea what they were talking about. Bear in mind the average age of the American RVers this was inflicted on.

    Of course, these customers were thrilled (sarcasm) when told that the TOS they signed up under had been changed to one which specifically limited roaming. These customers were also easily mollified (sarcasm) when informed that the TOS they signed up under did say it was subject to change.

    And people wonder why Wal-Mart is a successful ISP? Of course, that's the same as Netscape ISP, which is really Compuserve's old network, which AOL makes available on the wholesale level since AOL owns Compuserve. Got all that?
    Eric J. Bowman, principal
    Bison Systems Corporation coming soon: a new sig!
    I'm just a poor, unfrozen caveman Webmaster. Your new 'standards' frighten, and confuse me...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Northwest Colorado
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    A key point to consider when shopping for nationwide dialup is whether or not 'accelerated' access is available. You've seen the overblown hype (DSL speeds over your modem!) surrounding this technology, and some outrageous prices are charged.

    Most implementations are software-based and suck worse than you can imagine. Some aggregators, like GlobalPops, implement hardware acceleration (think Akamai in reverse) colocated in the POPs they lease numbers at (my local dialup number is a Steamboat Springs number, but the modem POP is in Denver) which is an effective method.

    Look for an ISP who will admit their own-branded accelerator is actually Slipstream:

    http://www.slipstream.com/our_technology/isp_info.html

    Sometimes, a number won't be listed as 'on-net' because its location isn't accelerated. Last I checked, a good price for Slipstream acceleration was around $1.50 per month over the base rate, which IMHO it's well worth.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Connecticut
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    A few years ago I used NetZero [$10], Juno [$10], AOL [$25], and ArcZip [$15].

    NetZero Cons:
    - Bar on top of screen
    - Kicks you off their service if used too much
    - Kicks you off every six hours

    Juno Cons:
    - Annoying background application

    AOL Cons:
    - Really bulky background application.

    ArcZip Pros:
    - No applications [you dial-in manually]

    ArcZip Cons:
    - After 150 hours of usage, you have to get a new account name if you want to continue using it that month

    ArcZip is your best bet if you can live with the account resetting. The customer service is quick enough so it's usually only a five minute process.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Northwest Colorado
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    Six to eight hour session limits are a fact of life in the dialup industry. The issue is the size of modern software downloads -- some can tie up a modem for 24 hours. 'Unlimited' access is also typically limited to 300-350 hours per month.

    An ISP operator could face some serious charges if this were allowed to happen, because underneath it all modem usage is billed using the 95th-percentile method on a per-port basis. It took a few years, but the industry has settled on that 6-8 hour session limit as the appropriate churn method to make 95th-percentile work. IIRC.

    YNP actually is one of the rare exceptions, as they claim to impose no session limit on resellers. If you search, you can find they take some heat over this, much like an 'unlimited' webhost would here. They are also the only per-user wholesaler I know of who sets 'unlimited' hours to 472 per month.

    Some ISPs don't care if you use auto-redial to reestablish the connection immediately, and modern download management allows transfers to resume automagically.

    An ISP could conceivably opt for flat-rate per-port pricing and avoid session limits. But if you've ever operated a modem bank, you would have a hard time understanding (I have, and I don't) how anyone could stay in business this way without charging $50/month for dialup access.

    Another gotcha, is whether or not V.92 is supported at all, let alone network wide. There is one aggregator I know of whose RADIUS implementation limits all connections to 33.6Kbps because their core network, and thus their pricing base, is UUNET a.k.a. WorldNet a.k.a. MCI, a.k.a. broke as a joke for so long that their entire dialup network is still 33.6Kbps. So avoid providers heavy on UUNET numbers for remote-area coverage, and not every V.92 POP lets you connect at 56Kbps.

    Everybody repeat after me please: You get what you pay for!!!
    Last edited by BigBison; 06-11-2005 at 04:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
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    Thanks to all.

    I could have explained myself more. I'm moving to Japan but my wife will be on the West Coast for a couple of months before she joins me visiting family and friends that live in areas that don't always have a bunch of dialup connectivity. I usually have broadband but she just needs a connection to get on once a day to check e-mail and do a bit of browsing.

    I actually know quiate a bit about the different implementations of dialup and that many of the companies rely on the modem banks of larger companies like UUNet.

    My larger concern was that I had tried Netscape Internet as an option to "take on the road" when it was $1/month for a promotion and went to Jacksonvile, NC only to find they didn't have a local modem number that worked.

    Netscape worked great for me but I was trying to find some other options that people knew about.
    Rich
    WebsiteMaven - Web Hosting Reviews, Guides, and Advice to Build and Promote your Web Site

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