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General Motors and DaimlerChrysler are to offer cut-price AOL Internet access as a perk to staff.

In all, 300 US employees will get to log onto the Net for $3 per month - AOL normally charges $21.95 for the privilege. They will also be offered AOL's interactive TV for $5 a month, and an interactive TV-Satellite TV combo for $31.95. The AOLTV and Hughes Electronics DirecTV offer will be one of the first to come out of the ISP's $1.5 billion investment in Hughes.

Around 200 GM and 100 Daimler staff will be eligible in the US when the scheme kicks off early next year, with the companies considering expanding the programme worldwide if it is successful.

"It is imperative that all our employees have access to the Internet," said Jim Holden, DaimlerChrysler president and CEO. "The concept of having a Web-savvy workforce is at the heart of our business-to-employee strategy."

In February Ford announced it would give each of its 350,000 workers worldwide the chance to lease a PC - an HP Pavilion - with Net access from UUNet for $5 a month. ®

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