The future for free ISPs

At time of press, two of the five free ISPs had not actually commenced connecting their users, but both were planning to do so by the time you read this (Hop On and Go Connect), so it remains to be seen if they will make good their promises. Free ISPs are new to the Australian Net world. Their future is uncertain and entirely dependent on the advertisers that use them to promote their products and services. On the plus side, sheer discounts of scale are making telecommunications and bulk connection costs cheaper for ISPs as the Net boom continues. Coupled with the growth in Net advertising, this should help keep free ISPs on the scene. If, on the other hand, these free services are monopolised by poverty-stricken uni students, kids and others who have no money to spend, there will be no returns for advertisers and the well will dry up.

Speaking to the owners of some of these new free ISPs, I got the impression there is a certain "wait and see how it goes" approach to their services. The way people adopt these free services and what they do with them will map out the future for free ISPs. For now, though, take advantage of them: they are a great way to try out the Net without running up expensive bills, and can help you reduce your existing ISP charges if you have an account. If you are going to buy something online, using a free ISP will help keep Net costs down for you and others, too. The Net started as a free, self-governed network for everyone - perhaps it can stay that way?

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

IDG staff

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?