Free ISPs, Please

I’ve been a long-time member of Internet service provider (ISP) Netzero (and their sister company Juno). Basically, since my days out of college to today, I’ve had them in my bag of tricks. In the early days, I had upgraded to the “premium plan” and used dial-up as my primary way to access the Internet. Those were sad slow days, but they were also cheaper days than with the cable company plan that I have now.

However, after I upgraded to a real connection, I did keep Netzero around. Why? Because they have a free service available for dial-up. It serves as a wonderful back-up if I’m at a hotel or visiting family that doesn’t have Internet access and I need to get my fix.

I was reminded of this when I saw a blog post from makeuseof.com for all-free-isp.com. The way this site work is basically as a search engine for dial-up spots in any give city or area code. You type in the data and it will spit out a list of free ISPs in that area, what systems they are compatible with, and even reviews of the services. It’s a pretty useful site.

The other option is to try and find free wi-fi in your area. The best site for that is http://www.wififreespot.com/. I’ve used this site a few time to help people who needed to get to wi-fi quickly. Unfortunately, it basically only provides a list of location. While this is useful, I’d love to see this implemented on to something like Google Maps.

On this site, you simply click on the state that you want and out pops a list. You are probably best off using the find function on your browser to type in the city that you are looking for, and then you’ll find a list. While it isn’t the most technically advanced site, I’ve found the information to be pretty accurate and helpful. The site claimed on its blog that it has increased its database by 5,000 hotspots in just the first half of 2009, so it has a pretty impressive collection.

Anybody have their own tricks for getting on the net? Let me know in the comments.

Note: This post is coming out early this week, since I’ll be out of town this weekend. This will probably happen a couple more times this summer, so I hope you won’t be too upset with the break up of continuity.

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