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Sunday, January 31, 1999 Published at 11:47 GMT


Sci/Tech

Free Net access for shoppers

Tesco: 10 million potential users


John Moylan: Free access may be short lived
One of the UK's largest supermarket chains is offering its customers free Internet access - potentially bringing millions of new users online.

It also hopes to eventually offer banking and shopping services to all 10 million of its loyalty card holders.


[ image: Freeserve: 900,000 users]
Freeserve: 900,000 users
Tesco announced the plan on its own website on Friday, with Clubcard holders able to get online by picking up a free disc - or if they are already connected, by signing up via the Internet.

It is estimated that if only 10% of Tesco customers take up the offer, the supermarket chain will become the UK's largest Internet service provider (ISP).

That record is currently held by electronic retail chain Dixons, which put 900,000 people online with its own subscription free system Freeserve.

The offer is likely to be a boost to potential users who are nervous of monthly costs on top of the already considerable outlay for a modem, phone line and computer.

At present, most ISPs provide access for between £5 and £20 per month.



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