There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can get high-speed broadband access and those who can't. Well, here's some good news for you unlucky, narrowband folks. If you can't get or simply can't afford a cable or DSL connection, NetZero and EarthLink could be the next best thing.
Both ISPs now offer dial-up accounts that come close to broadband speeds at a fraction of the cost. EarthLink Plus ($29 a month) uses a technology designed by Propel (creator of Propel Accelerator, a CNET Editors' Choice utility) to cache Web pages and compress images before you download them to your PC. NetZero HiSpeed ($15 a month) uses a similar technology developed by a company called SlipStream.
Neither service is a substitute for a true broadband connection--for example, they won't do a thing to improve the speed of downloading large files, where broadband connections really show their stuff, nor will they let you keep your connection running 24/7 or free up your existing phone line--but they can help drag you out of the dial-up doldrums.
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