Dell offers free Net access in Europe

Dell offers free Net access in Europe

Dell Computer last week said it will begin offering free Internet access across Europe.

Dell has already launched its new service, which it calls DellNet, in the UK, and will launch the service in the next month in France and Germany.

The US-based computer manufacturer also plans to offer DellNet in other European countries, according to a company statement.

"Free" Internet access has become an increasingly popular way to draw new users online in the UK, and other countries such as Denmark and France have begun to follow.

Dell is the first major computer manufacturer to get into the act, however. Users pay no monthly charge for access, but still need to pay for local metered phone charges while online.

While Net usage rates have increased in the UK with the numerous free Internet offers, metered charges for local phone usage still keep many Europeans from going online or staying online for a long time.

For example, the average user of the Internet service provider American Online in the US stays online for 55 minutes per day, compared to only 17 minutes a day in Europe, said Andreas Schmidt, head of AOL Europe, last week.

Schmidt also said that metered phone calls remain the number-one barrier to making the Internet a mass medium in Europe.

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