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How to Get Free Internet Access Print

In the beginning, there was dial-up, and it was good -- until the thrill wore off and people noticed that loading some pages or downloading a song could take days. It's cheap, but the only people who use dial-up today are those who can't afford something faster or don't know better.


Dial-up begat DSL, and it was better. For little more than the cost of an extra phone line, it is fast and fairly reliable. Depending on your perspective, the price-vs.-speed ratio either strikes a nice balance or is unsatisfactory on both counts.

Next came the cable modem, which allowed users to download music, video and pictures at blazing speeds. The monthly bill, about $50, maybe more, once the special introductory rate expires, offsets the rush.

Now, there's citywide Wi-Fi, which, if all goes according to plan, will allow you to e-mail your aunt in Omaha from anywhere in the city. You can't beat the price City Hall is seeking -- free -- but there are questions about speed and reliability.

Whether you are on the road, between permanent Internet connections, or just plain cheap, you can surf the Web for free. There are two basic ways to get free Web access: with a computer of your own, or with someone else's computer.