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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter No. 7 - Free PC and Free Internet Deals                                    June 10, 2003
 
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Welcome to our seventh InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter - Free PCs and Free Internet. In this newsletter we take a look at free PC and free Internet deals.

In search of the "Free PC"

Just a few short years ago, many companies were giving away "free PCs". While there usually was some "catch" to the deal, free PC deals were very popular. Today, almost all of the free PC offers have vanished, because their deals did not make the sponsoring companies enough money.

PeoplePC will "give" you a "Free PC"

There is still one company that will give/sell you a free computer. PeoplePC, still offers free computers when you sign up for their Internet service. The deal is you sign a 4 year contract for their dial-up Internet access and they will give/sell you a new Gateway laptop or desktop.

So what's the catch?

Their are several things that are not so good about this deal.

The minimum amount you can pay for a Gateway 2.1 GHz Celeron desktop, with dial-up Internet service, is $24.95 per month. As PeoplePC provides dial-up Internet service for $9.95 per mouth, this means that you are paying $14.95 per month for the Gateway computer or $717.60 ($14.95 * 48 months) over a 4 year period.

As you can buy a 2.2 GHz Celeron desktop from Gateway for $499, the difference between the two prices ($717.60 - $499 = $218.60) is your interest cost. PeoplePC's fine print says their minimum interest charge is 10.95 % and their maximum charge is 27.99%.

So is the free PeoplePC a good deal?

Well ..., no it isn't. Obviously, financing a PC through PeoplePC is as bad as financing a purchase at your local rent-to-own store. You would be much better off getting your own Internet service and financing your desktop separately. If you bought Gateway's current 2.2 GHz Celeron deal , instead of the PeoplePC system (Gateway 2.1 GHz Celeron), you would get a better equipped PC at a lower price, with 6 months of free AOL.

Free Internet Dial-Up Service Deals

While you may not be able to get a good "free PC" deal, there are still a few providers that are offering free dial-up Internet service if you use less than 10 hours per month of Internet access. These "free" providers include: Access-4-Free, Netzero, and Juno.

The service I recommend you try first is Access-4-free as they don't have the banners and ads that Netzero and Juno have.

What about free DSL??

No companies are currently offering free DSL, so much for the "free lunch".

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