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Dell to offer ADSL Net access, Compaq plans to trump it

Dell's new service is way behind, says Pfeiffer, who's planning big things in e-commerce

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Dell has become the latest PC company to hop into the ISP business, with the launch of Dell ConnectDirect, via agreements with AT&T WorldNet, Excite and SBC Communications. The service will be bundled with US-sold Dell Dimension PCs from this week, and will include an easy sign-on process that allows users to choose ISPs, personalised Web home pages and links to (aha!) Dell services, support and registration sites. DirectConnect will feature six basic home pages, each targetting a specific market segment, including home, education, small business and government. One likely attraction for customers is that Dell proposes to offer high speed access via ADSL connections, so long as it's possible to do this from where the customer lives. This won't actually start happening until early next year though, when SBC plans to start rolling the service out in Texas and California. Dell already has a similar agreement covering US West's territories. It also appears Dell will be adding ISPs as it goes along - so far AT&T WorldNet is the only one named. Meanwhile Register Man of the Year, Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer, was unable to resist a sneer to reporters after a speaking engagement last night. Compaq is way ahead of the game in using the Internet to keep in touch with its customers, he said, and then couldn't resist promising a big announcement Real Soon Now. That certainly ties in with the hints that Compaq will be working with Excite rival Yahoo! on a new portal that combines Yahoo! content with Compaq's Alta Vista search engine. It is also believed that the company will be increasing its stake in the Road Runner high-speed, cable-based ISP owned by Time Warner. It appears all this is about giving family access to the Internet to customers, and extending the services so far provided into e-commerce territory. Just call him the Big E... ® Click for more stories

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