The Times, Pac Bell to Offer Net Service
In a novel alliance between a major newspaper and a telecommunications company, the Los Angeles Times and Pacific Bell Internet Services will jointly offer an Internet access service specifically designed for Southern Californians beginning today.
The service aims to attract new users to the Internet, the global computer network that enables people to send e-mail, search databases, participate in online discussions and view multimedia documents via a personal computer and a phone line.
The incredible growth of the Internet over the last year--and especially the multimedia portion known as the World Wide Web--has led to scores of alliances among telecommunications, entertainment, technology and publishing companies hoping to tap new markets. Market researchers say about 4.4 million people now use the Internet in Southern California alone.
The announcement marks the first such business combination between a leading newspaper and an Internet access provider.
“We’re combining the strengths of both companies--fast, reliable and affordable high-performance Internet access with superior regional and national content,” said Rick Hronicek, president of San Francisco-based Pacific Bell Internet Services, a subsidiary of Pacific Telesis Group.
The phone giant launched its own Internet access service last week, and alliances with other newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, are expected to follow shortly, Hronicek said.
The combined service will give users a customized version of Netscape Navigator, the leading Internet browser, with buttons and bookmarks to provide direct links to World Wide Web sites of particular interest to people in Southern California, including The Times’ Web site at https://www.latimes.com
The service will provide a direct link to SoCal Excite (https://www.SoCAlink.com), a regional Internet search engine jointly developed by The Times and Architext Software that enables users to search the entire computer network to find services, Web sites and newsgroups with a special focus on Southern California.
Pacific Bell Internet’s customized service for The Times offers local dial-up access at speeds of up to 28.8 kilobits per second, and high-speed ISDN access will be available in early July. Prices range from $9.95 a month for 10 hours of access time to $19.95 a month for unlimited Internet access.
“This alliance with Pacific Bell Internet fits perfectly into our overall Internet strategy,” said Bob Brisco, senior vice president of marketing and new-business development for The Times. The newspaper, he said, is “in the business of building the Internet audience by making it more accessible to consumers.”
Prospective customers can download the customized Los Angeles Times Web client software directly from the Web at https://www.pacbell.net/latimes or by calling (800) 213-9999.