By Bill Johnson aka Le Fantome
(May 7, 2000)
UPDATE:10/23/00:At the current time their are NO FREE ISP's for WebTV!!! WorldShare may connect for some but how long is uncertain. I will post new ones as they come available here.
9/25/2000: Salvario offers this NEW update!
If you have a computer, or have a good friend who lives nearby with a computer, there is presently an alternative which works: Freei.net
You or your friend must sign up and download either Windows or Macintosh software. Once the software is downloaded, you can dial in to the Freei toll-free number to locate local numbers for your area.
Please double-check with your local phone company representatives to make absolutely sure that these are really local numbers for your particular phone number and account and can be dialed without any additional charges to your monthly phone bill.
With the computer, you or your friend must then sign in with the Freei software, which puts an moveable advertising banner bar on the computer screen during all the time you're accessing through Freei. You must also sign on a few times and take some simple surveys to establish the Freei account.
After you've established the Freei account, you can use the following guidelines for you WebTV ISP settings:
Be sure you get the latest list of
Freei dialup numbers.
- Service Provider: xx.freei.net
[xx is your state abbreviation, part of your Freei email address]
- Username: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Password: the password you chose when you registered with Freei
- Dialup number(s): Taken from the list when you signed in and chose dialup numbers for the computer
- You will also need to set up Remote Mail to retrieve email from Freei regarding your account. See the index to my Help Pages, at the bottom of this page, for info on how to set it up to retrieve your Freei mail.
8/28/2000 WorldShare is still working for many who go HERE and enter their former username and passwords and clic on the button. Uncertain as to how long this will work but working as of 9/19/2000.
Pro-USA.Net, and DialFree.Net are also available now thast freewwweb no longer connects, then switch ISPs as necessary when there is a problem connecting.
You must read all the FAQs and TOS for each provider to see what you're obligated to pay and do to retain free service.
All three charge a one-time setup or registration fee, and some require monthly surveys to retain free service without being billed.
Net4TV Voice article about additional ISP's for WebTV and further instructions about Freewwweb.
Your WebTV unit should reset and connect automatically to WorldShare.Net to complete the process. A confirmation screen may appear to verify that you're using WorldShare.Net to access WebTV. If you have ANY problems during the process, put your settings back to what they were before doing this setup. I-800-GO WEBTV can also help you if you have problems. Note: usernames are only 6-8 characters in length and the first character must be an alpha letter. The username also must contain a number. I signed up for the service and it works fine, and I feel secure knowing there is a help line available if we need it.
5/18/2000: Report from RhinoPoint that they do NOT pay for WebTV ISP's! If you have investigated Rhinopoint write me with your findings! 9/8/2000: Rhinopoint has ceased operations! Probaby amide a lot of problems.
Recently, many people who have been "hit" by the $5 service charge for automatic bank withdrawals have been trying to find out how to save money on their WebTV bill. We have discovered some web-based ISP's that will connect you to WebTV and save you $10 or more per month on your WebTV Internet connection. You can connect to WebTV through them rather than going to WebTV directly. Free ISP's are useful for all users to save money on their WebTV bill and I have personally found the connections I have tried through ISP's to be faster than the WebTV connection, and I save money too. Here is a web site to help you decide if you want a free ISP connection.
UPDATE:7/20/00: WorldShare is no longer doing surveys but access is still free!
WorldShare.net is a free ISP that does work with WebTV. They require a $15 one-time yearly donation to charitable organizations or volunteer work if one cannot afford it. The donation can be in the form of a credit card deduction or check. Each month you will receive a survey in your e-mail to fill out to get the $10 credit on your account. Windjammer writes: "Can WebTV users sign up for WorldShare.Net's free service?" Yes you can! Here are step-by-step instructions on setting up via WebTV. IMPORTANT: Jot down your current WebTV ISP settings before you change them to WorldShare.Net's settings, just in case you have a problem.
- Jot down your local access number from their list at http://www.worldshare.com/phonelist.htm.
- On your WebTV, sign up for WorldShare.Net using their Macintosh online signup option.
- Jot down the User ID and Password you chose during registration. These are case sensitive, so BlkBox8 and Blkbox8 are not the same.
- Visit the WebTV Web Homepage and select "Account" at the top of the screen.
- On the Account page, select "Use an ISP."
- Choose "Sign Up Now."
- For the ISP company name, enter WorldShare and click the "Continue" button.
- Enter the access number from step one as your primary and backup access numbers and click the "Continue" button.
- Enter your user name prefixed by "i.wshr." and password (case sensitive!) and click the "Continue" button.
Example of a User Name: JohnDoe7
You would enter: i.wshr.JohnDoe7
- Confirm your password, then click the "Continue" button.
- Click the "Use your ISP" button
According to WebTVer Enternutty, Dialfree.net looks very similar to Worldshare ... except Dialfree has v90 compliant access lines and Worldshare uses the X2 modem standard. Some WebTVs use X2 and others use the newer v90. Both standards are equally fast, but higher data rates are achieved if the modem and access lines use the same compliance standard. Check with WebTV to see which standard your box supports.
DialFree does require a credit card for the $10.00 setup fee and also pays $19.95 directly to your credit card for each survey you complete (you will receive one per month). I have not tried this service but it certainly looks viable for WebTV.
Freewwweb.com is a leader in free internet subscription. WebTV reduces your monthly bill by $10.00 if you use your own ISP (WebTV Pricing). Here is the breakdown:
On his Freewwweb page Salvario outlines the process for signing up for Freewwweb.com, setting up your fetch options for mail, and the method to put the info into your WebTV home setting. Freewwweb gives you free Internet access of 80 hours per month but you can make multiple username accounts if you will be online more than the 80 hours. This writer has personally been on Freewweb for about 3 months and finds the service acceptable. Occasionally there seems to be a bit of "downtime" during peak hours as it does not recognize passwords but with a little persistence you will be able to connect. News updates are usually found on the page by Salvario. It is a snap to change the username for multiple account so that should not prevent any problems.
[Editor's note: Net4TV is an affiliate for Freewwweb.com.]
RhinoPoint.com is a service that pays you up to $22 per month to fill out a survey each month. It operates on the surveys and is not an ISP per se. RhinoPoint credits your credit card with the fee you would otherwise pay WebTV, and you use the ISP of your choice. To become a RhinoPoint member, just fill out their simple member profile form, pay a one-time setup fee of $15.95 and agree to respond to at least one market research survey each month. WebTVers can achieve the greatest savings by combining RhinoPoint with a free ISP and WebTV's Use an ISP discount.
WebTVer, Windjammer, writes, "As a matter of fact I was checking out http://www.rhinopoint.com/ today. If I read the FAQ correctly it could pay your entire WebTV bill! For example (with a free ISP):
On the downside, it takes 30-45 days to activate your account, there is a $15.95 sign up fee, and you must live in a metropolitan area of 50,000 or more. When you fill out the initial info it will tell you if you are eligible for the service."
With just RhinoPoint and service from WebTV, an old classic user would still pay $10. But if you add a free ISP, such as Freewwweb.com, you can claim WebTV's Use an ISP discount and end up paying nothing in the end. In fact, with a free ISP, all WebTV Classic and Plus users can pay nothing with RhinoPoint.
I certainly will be investigating this and would welcome some feedback from those who have!
|Allowed for ISP:
On the down side....WebCombo offers free internet connection for WebTV on their site BUT.... you have to buy a piece of software for $199 that makes a nifty Christmas ornament for your tree, but is useless with WebTV. I contacted a local distributor for my area and he told me that after the software is purchased, the codes from the software give you access to their free service upon contacting their customer support.
I also understand that WebCombo is having some financial problems at the present time and plans to switch its current users to a different server in the near future. This service might be more an option for computers than WebTV, or for WebTVers who also own computers. I include this service here as it openly welcomes WebTV within their webpages.
Whichever service you decide to use, it is important to note that you MUST be connected via the Free ISP when your bill comes due. Otherwise, WebTV will deduct the full amount from your account. I have experienced some downtime with Freewwweb and have changed the connection to WebTV temporally and changed it back as soon as possible with good results. But who knows how quickly WebTV will find a way to discover this. As one user wrote me, "Free ISP's are the best thing since sliced bread" for WebTV users!
Thanks to Glendolyn for editing this piece and for