Guide to Internet Access In Southern California

Choosing an Internet access provider from the throngs of firms now crowding the field can be a difficult dilemma indeed. In an effort to help you cut through the confusion, we collected information on a wide variety of Internet providers in Southern California. In addition, we solicited readers' opinions on the quality of service offered by the various vendors, and received more than 400 responses. The chart includes detailed information on what we believe are the largest national and local access providers in Southern California; smaller companies and their phone numbers are listed at the bottom. We did not include the many bulletin boards that include some level of Internet access as part of their offerings. The comments are based on the knowledge of The Times' editorial staff and the informal reader survey; the comments in quotation marks are all excerpts from e-mail messages.

On the facing page, Daniel Akst's column offers advice on what to keep in mind when considering the information here. Happy surfing!

***********************

COMPANY:

America Online

Vienna, Va.

Number of Subscribers: 3.5 million

Telephone: 1-800-827-6364

Web address: http://www.blue.aol.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee; 1st mo./10 hrs. free, $9.95/mo. for 5 hrs., $2.95 each addit'l hr.; e-mail, FTP; USENET; 2 MB user web pages.

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

The nation's largest and fastest-growing on-line service has only recently begun offering broad links to the Internet. It's "fine for e-mail" and the Web browser reportedly "works fairly well," but it's "very difficult to reach them by phone" and connect-time charges can make it expensive.

***********************

COMPANY:

BBN Planet

Cambridge, Mass.

Number of Subscribers: 1,400 large businesses

Telephone: 1-800-472-4565

Web address: http://www.bbnplanet.com/

Services/Prices: Internet Advantage; dedicated Internet access services, businesses (not individuals) TCP/IP: e-mail; FTP WWW site creation, services, security services.

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

A subsidiary of one of the companies that invented the Internet, BBN Planet has big plans, thanks largely to its recent alliance with phone giant AT&T.; For now its services are oriented mainly toward businesses.

***********************

COMPANY:

Caprica

Monterey Park

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-213-266-0822

Web address: http://www.caprica.com/

Services/Prices: Shell: $12.50 setup fee, SLIP/IPP: $25 setup fee: $12.95/mo. for 20 hrs., $0.95-$1.65 for addit'l hrs.; FTP, UUCP, e-mail, USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818)

Comments:

This small firm, home of Postcard from Cyberspace columnist Daniel Akst, is appreciated for personnel service and good pricing.

***********************

COMPANY:

CERFNet

San Diego

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-800-386-5550

Web address: http://www.cerf.net/

Services/Prices: Shell: $25 setup fee, $20/mo. for unlimited hrs. SLIP/PPP; $30 setup fee, $30/mo. unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (310) (818) (619) (714) (805)

Comments: --

***********************

COMPANY:

Cinenet

Marina del Rey

Number of Subscribers: 500

Telephone: 1-310-301-4500

Web address: http://www.cinenet.net/

Services/Prices: $50 setup fee, PPP: $24.95/mo. for 150 hrs., $1.50 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818)

Comments:

Bills itself as the Internet access provider for the entertainment community.

***********************

COMPANY:

CompuServe

Columbus, Ohio

Number of Subscribers: 3.5 million

Telephone: 1-800-848-8990

Web address: http://www.compuserve.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee; 1st mo./10 hrs. free, $9.95/mo. for 5 hrs., $2.95 each addit'l hr.; e-mail, FTP; USENET; user web pages upcoming

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

The granddaddy of on-line services offers perhaps the best Internet access of the "big three" online providers and plenty of techie discussions on its own forum. But "cost!" is a problem for those mainly interested in Internet access.

***********************

COMPANY:

CRC

Cupertino

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-800-745-2747

Web address: http://www.concentric.net/

Services/Prices: Shell, SLIP: No setup fee, $19.95/mo. for 20 hrs, $1.50 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (805) (619) (714) (213)

Comments: --

***********************

COMPANY:

Delta Internet

Anaheim

Number of Subscribers: 4,000

Telephone: 1-714-778-0370

Web address: http://www.deltanet.com/

Services/Prices: Shell: $14.95 setup fee/mo. for 30 hrs., $1 each addit'l hr.; SLIP/PPP; $19.95 setup fee, $24.95/mo. for 75 hrs., $1.50 each addit'l hr. e-mail; FTP; USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (619) (714) (818) (909)

Comments:

This Orange County company is lauded for being "much more attentive" than larger rivals. The firm "Always answers their e-mail and always answers their phone," though busy signals sometimes crop up when dialing in.

***********************

COMPANY:

DirectNet

Los Angeles

Number of Subscribers: 450

Telephone: 1-213-383-3144

Web address: http://www.directnet.com/

Services/Prices: PPP: $25 setup fee, $20/mo. for unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET, ISDN

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (805) (818)

Comments: --

***********************

COMPANY:

Earthlink

Los Angeles

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-213-644-9500

Web address: http://www.earthlink.com/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $25 setup fee, $19.95/mo. for 50 peak hrs., $1.95 each addit'l peak hr, unlimited non-peak hrs.; UUCP; e-mail; FTP; ISDN, USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (805) (714) (818)

Comments:

This ambitious access provider is run by a 24-year-old, and its many fans praise the "good service" and high-speed access. But others say it's suffering growing pains with frequent outages.

***********************

COMPANY:

GEnie Services

Rockville, Md.

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-800-638-8369

Web address: http://www.genie.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee, first $50 of usage free; $8.95/mo. for 4 hrs., $3 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

One of the oldest of the on-line services, Genie has never made a big impression with consumers. But it hopes changes in the market and the rise of the Internet will help it come back.

***********************

COMPANY:

IDT

Hackensack, N.J.

Number of Subscribers: 20,000

Telephone: 1-201-928-1000

Web address: http://www.ios.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee; Shell: $15/mo. for unlimited hrs.; SLIP/PPP $29/mo. for unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

This national provider drew notably caustic comments from all five readers who mentioned it. They complained of "misleading" pricing claims and extreme difficulty in obtaining technical support.

***********************

COMPANY:

Instanet

Chatsworth

Number of Subscribers: 1,000

Telephone: 1-818-772-0097

Web address: http://www.instanet.com/

Services/Prices: SLIP: $29.95 setup fee, $29.95/mo. for unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET, UUCP, ISDN

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818) (805)

Comments:

"The price is slightly higher than other companies but well worth it for the personalized service," writes one of the few readers to comment on this small company.

***********************

COMPANY:

Kaiwan

Irvine

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-714-638-2139

Web address: http://www.kaiwan.com/

Services/Prices: Shell/PPP: $30 setup fee, $43/mo. unlimited usage. e-mail, FTP, USENET, ISDN, UUCP.

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (714) (805) (818) (909)

Comments:

Kaiwan has grown but the reviews are decidedly mixed.

***********************

COMPANY:

Leonardo

Santa Monica

Number of Subscribers: 500

Telephone: 1-310-395-5500

Web address: http://www.leonardo.net/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $20 setup fee, $17.50/mo. for 20 hrs., $1 each addit'l hr.; e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (619) (714) (818) (909)

Comments:

Fans of this small firm sent a barrage of e-mail praising it as "reliable, friendly, knowledgeable" and offering service that's "clean, efficient and trouble-free." But a few warn of growing pains and "system upgrades which may cause the system to be down."

***********************

COMPANY:

Lightside

Covina

Number of Subscribers: 1,000

Telephone: 1-818-858-9261

Web address: http://www.lightside.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee, SLIP/PPP $29.95/mo. for 100 hrs., $1 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (310) (714) (818) (909)

Comments:

Readers say this small firm is "interested and responsive" and "availability is quite good.

***********************

COMPANY:

The Loop

Hollywood

Number of Subscribers: 1,000+

Telephone: 1-213-465-1311

Web address: http://www.loop.com/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $12.99 setup fee, $12.99 /mo. for unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818)

Comments:

A small local provider that gets good reviews from customers, who especially appreciates the low prices. "Highly recommended for value and service," raves one.

***********************

COMPANY:

L.A. Free-Net

Encino

Number of Subscribers: 6,000

Telephone: 1-213-223-6511

Web address: http://www.lafn.org/

Services/Prices: PPP: $15 annual fee, $15 for graphic interface, unlimited hrs., sessions restricted to 1 hr. e-mail, USENET.

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818)

Comments:

The access provider of choice for those on a budget, the Free-Net offers fewer services than many commercial providers but makes up for it with a community feel. See accompanying story.

***********************

COMPANY:

MCI

Washington, D.C.

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-800-360-2304

Web address: http://www.internetmci.com/

Services/Prices: $18.95 setup fee, $39.95 software charge; PPP: $9.95 mo./for 5 hrs, $2.50 each addit'l hr.; e-mail; USENET; FTP

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (619) (714) (909)

Comments:

The long-distance telephone giant is making a big Internet push in conjunction with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns the Delphi Internet service. Stay tuned.

***********************

COMPANY:

Microsoft Network

Redmond, Wash.

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-800-386-5550

Web address: http://www.msn.com/

Services/Prices: Online service available through Windows 95 software. $4.95/mo. for three hours. $2.50 each addit'l hr; e-mail. PPP. FTP. USENET.

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

The software giant has big plans to be not only an access provider, but a major content supplier on the Internet. But potential customers must use Windows 95 software, at least so far, and the brand-new Microsoft Network has only limited offerings.

***********************

COMPANY:

Netcom

San Jose

Number of Subscribers: 200,000

Telephone: 1-800-353-6600

Web address: http://www.netcom.com/

Services/Prices: Shell, SLIP: $25 set-up fee, $19.95/mo. for 40 peak hrs., $2 each addit'l peak hr, unlimited non-peak hrs.; UUCP; e-mail; FTP; USENET

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

The largest of the independent on-line is growing fast and cleaning up some of its early service problems. But readers give it mixed reviews: There are some who "recommend it highly," and praise the Netcruiser Web software. But critics complain that it's "almost impossible to get timely technical support."

***********************

COMPANY:

Network Intensive

Irvine

Number of Subscribers: 2,500

Telephone: 1-800-273-5600

Web address: http://www.ni.net/

Services/Prices: $50 setup fee; Shell: $25/mo. for 20 hrs., $1 each addit'l hr., PPP: $35/mo. for 20 hrs., $2 each addit'l hr., unlimited non-peak. e-mail, USENET, UUCP, ISDN

Local access area codes: (310) (714) (818) (909) (213) (805)

Comments: --

***********************

COMPANY:

PacificNet

Canoga Park

Number of Subscribers: 1,000

Telephone: 1-818-717-9500

Web address: http://www.pacificnet.net/

Services/Prices: No setup fee, SLIP/PPP: $18.95/mo. for unlimited hrs. e-mail, FTP, USENET, ISDN

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (818) (805)

Comments: --

***********************

COMPANY:

PSI Net

Herndon, Va.

Number of Subscribers: 30,000

Telephone: 703-904-4100

Web address: http://www.psi.com/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $30 setup fee, $9/mo. for 9 hrs., $29/mo. for 29 hrs., $1.50 each addit'l hr.; e-mail, FTP, USENET, UUCP, ISDN. Also flat-rate options available.

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (619) (714) (818) (909)

Comments:

This national provider markets services under the InterRamp and Pipeline names and is highly regarded in the industry. Aggressive in introducing high-speed services. Readers raved about "great" technical support.

***********************

COMPANY:

Primenet

Phoenix, Ariz.

Number of Subscribers: 20,000

Telephone: 1-800-463-8386

Web address: http://www.primenet.com/

Services/Prices: $30 setup fee; Shell: $19.95/mo., unlimited hrs.; SLIP/PPP: $24.95/mo., 150 hrs.; e-mail; UUCP; FTP

Local access area codes: (213) (310) (619) (714) (818) (909)

Comments:

This large provider is called "excellent for price and accessibility" and "attentive to its customers."

***********************

COMPANY:

Prodigy

White Plains, N.Y.

Number of Subscribers: 2.3 million

Telephone: 1-914-448-8000

Web address: http://www.prodigy.com/

Services/Prices: No setup fee; 1st mo./for 10 hrs. free, $9.95/mo. for 5 hrs., $2.95 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET

Local access area codes: All Southern Calif. area codes

Comments:

Long scorned by the Internet cognescenti for its cludgy interface, Prodigy was ahead of its rivals with a good Web browser and is building a new, hipper image. Some users are pleased, but others still complain about "too many advertisements" and high prices.

***********************

COMPANY:

Smartlink

Castaic

Number of Subscribers: Not available

Telephone: 1-805-294-1273

Web address: http://www.smartlink.com/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $30 setup, $27/mo. for unlimited hrs.; SHELL: $25 setup, $20/mo. for unlimited hrs.; e-mail, FTP, USENET, ISDN

Local access area codes: (805) (818)

Comments:

Subscribers to this Santa Clarita Valley company generated a heavy load of mail lauding the "prompt, personal and efficient service." But most in the Southland will have to dial long distance to reach them.

***********************

COMPANY:

UUNET Tech.

Number of Subscribers: 4,000

Telephone: 1-800-488-6384

Web address: http://www.uu.net/

Services/Prices: SLIP/PPP: $25 set-up fee, $30/mo. for 25 hrs., $2 each addit'l hr. e-mail, FTP, USENET, UUCP, ISDN

Local access area codes: (310) (714) (805) (818) (909)

Comments:

A pioneer in the Internet access business, UUnet is now minority owned by Microsoft Corp.

Other Providers

Advanced Network Solutions

http://www.adnetsol.com/

805-446-2219

*

Artnet

http://artnet.net/

310-659-0122

*

Cloverleaf

http://cloverleaf.com/

714-895-3075

*

Cyberg8t

http://wwwcyberg8t.com/

909-398-4638

*

Digilink Network

http://www.digilink.net/

310-542-7421

*

EmpireNet

http://www.empirenet.com/

909-787-4969

*

Flamingo

http://www.fcom.com/

310-532-3533

*

Fishnet Internet

http://www.fishnet.net/

805-650-1844

*

Intelenet

http://www.intelenet.net/

714-777-2817

*

Internet Access of Ventura County

http://www.vcnet.com/

805-383-3500

*

Internet Sciences (Netvoyage)

http://www.netvoyage.net

310-253-5353

*

NeptuneNet

http://www.neptune.net/

714-757-0190

*

Outwest Services

http://outwest.com/

818-545-1996

*

PE.net

http://www.pe.net/

909-320-7800

*

RAIN

http://www.rain.org

805-650-5354

*

Services Gordian

http://www.gordian.com/

714-850-0205

*

Silicon Beach Communications

http://www.silicon.com/

805-730-7740

*

Slonet

http://www.slonet.org/

805-781-3666

*

SoftAware

http://www.softaware/

310-305-0275

*

TST Onramp

http://www.tstonramp.com/

909-620-7724

*

ViaNet

http://www.via.net/

415-969-2203

*

Westnet

http://www.west.net/

805-892-2133

Internet Terminology

The chart uses abbreviations for a number of popular features offered by Internet service providers. Here's a rundown on the main ones:

E-mail: Electronic mail, probably the thing you'll use most.

ftp: File Transfer Protocol. Using "anonymous ftp," you can obtain publicly available files from an Internet location halfway around the world. You can make files available to others in the same way if your provider allows you to have a public ftp subdirectory.

ISDN: The coming thing. Integrated Services Digital Network basically means digital phone service that can move a lot more data than the usual phone line and modem combo.

Shell: A shell account lets you access the Internet from a command line or relatively crude text-based menu. Shell accounts work pretty well if you know what you're doing.

SLIP and PPP: Serial Line Internet Protocol and Point-to-Point Protocol. These types of Internet accounts let your computer use Internet protocols and act as if it's actually a part of the Net. To get the most out of SLIP or PPP, you'll need a 14.4 kbps or faster modem.

Usenet: This refers to what many people call Internet newsgroups. There are roughly 18,000 of these discussion forums, and most access providers carry some but not all of them.

UUCP: Unix-to-Unix Copy. If you run a computer bulletin board, you can give your users Internet e-mail and some newsgroups by employing UUCP to exchange data with an Internet service provider. It usually doesn't cost much, either.

*

Sources: Company literature, representatives, and Web pages, The List, TimesLink Internet Guide.

Researched by DAVID NEIMAN and JENNIFER OLDHAM / Los Angeles Times

More Internet Access Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 4, 1995 Home Edition Business Part D Page 5 Financial Desk 4 inches; 131 words Type of Material: Correction; List Some local Internet access providers were left off a chart published Sept 27. They are listed here, along with their voice telephone numbers and World Wide Web addresses. Some corrections to the information in the chart are also included below. Calypso Online Service (714) 366-1350 http://www.calypso.com Cyberverse (310) 643-3783 http://www.cyberverse.com Channel Islands Internet (805) 658-2652 http://www.isle.net The Wave Network (800) 554-7462 http://www.wavenet.com West World Communications (818) 718-4100 http://www.westworld.com * The correct voice telephone number for the Los Angeles Free-Net is (818) 954-0080. The data line, for registration via computer, is (818) 776-5000 (set modem to 8-N-1). CERFnet's telephone number is (800) 876-2373. The company charges $20 per month plus $5 per hour for access. The setup fee for a PPP account on Cinenet is $30. Vianet's toll-free number is (800) 392-4737.
Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
57°