NetZero provides dial-up, accelerated dial-up and DSL internet services in the continental U.S. This northern California ISP is a subsidiary of United Online, which also owns Juno. They have been providing internet services since 1998 and were one of the first to offer free internet access to entice advertisers with their targeted marketing ability. NetZero grew quickly and went public in 1999. Currently, they have restricted their free dial-up services to 10 hours per month.
NetZero compares their services to other early adopters, including AOL, EarthLink, PeoplePC and MSN. They offer unlimited access for a minimal monthly charge, and they will help you over the phone to set up your service for the first time free of charge. In our experiences with their customer support, we happily received a helpful, thorough email response within the same day, which was nice to see. They provide free 24/7 email support and paid telephone support. Fortunately, they have a much better customer service reputation than their sister company Juno and, unlike most large ISPs, they do not currently have any lawsuits against them.
When we searched for available services for our test addresses, NetZero was able to provide DSL or dial-up services to seven of our eight sample addresses, though they do not offer services to Alaska or Hawaii. We do not know how many customers they serve, but they report to offer services in over 6,500 cities in the United States.
With NetZero you get eight email accounts, each of which can store up to 100MB of emails, but they do not offer free internet security or parental controls. They offer Norton internet security for an additional monthly charge, and if you need parental controls they offer Norton 360 for yet another fee every month. Many of our higher-ranked products offer these types of protection services free. They also offer a premium package, which includes learning tools such as SAT prep and the Encyclopedia Britannica, Nascar and MLB live and a PC tune-up utility for Windows.
NetZero provides a personal homepage, which provides links to news, local weather, stock quotes, business news, personals and more. They also have a new tool that will let you view status updates and post to Facebook directly from the NetZero homepage. It also provides a Google search box, which is handy.
We would really like to see NetZero provide free telephone support. Paying by the minute for tech support can add up quickly and seems unreasonable when you could be on the phone for a half hour trying to resolve a modem issue. If you need dial-up or DSL services and do not have access to high-speed options such as cable or fiber optics, you may benefit from looking into NetZero if it is available in your area. If you have other options, we suggest you look to one of our high-ranked products that provide more dial-up access numbers and free internet security.
NetZero does not require that you use a credit card for signing up with their services.
They do not include internet security or parental control software free with their basic plan like our higher-ranked products.
If you happen to live in an area where NetZero offers DSL services, this would be a good ISP option for you.