RealTime IT News

AT&T Launches Reduced-Rate Plan

AT&T Corp. Thursday introduced its AT&T WorldNet Service reduced rate limited Internet access plan.

The telecom giant is offering advertising subsidized Internet services for less than $5 a month.

Ed Chatlos, AT&T WorldNet vice president and general manager, said the move gives consumers a greater choice of service plans.

"Consumers today essentially have two choices for Internet plans. They can pay about $20 a month for full-featured 'name brand' access, or subscribe to free service from ISPs that may not have the features or reliability they want," Chatlos said.

Under the marketing moniker of AT&T's "i495 plan," the WorldNet service offers the same standard features that are available through its ad-free Internet services. The reduced rate Internet access plan includes up to 150 hours of access monthly, six e-mail addresses, up to 60 megabytes of Web space, instant messaging, and other premium services.

Live technical support is available to i495 subscribers for free during the first 30 days of access. After the first month is through, subscribers will continue to receive free technical assistance online through real-time chat. Additional live support services will be available on an ongoing basis for a small fee.

Consumers subscribing to the offer will see a multi-function toolbar that provides easy access to member services. AT&T worked with ad serving partners freeinternet.com and Predictive Networks to develop the ad-fed, fee-based hybrid service offering.

Utilizing advanced artificial intelligence technology and adhering to a wholly opt-in policy, Predictive Networks analyzes subscribers' click-stream data to develop a digital understanding of each subscriber's individual interests.

Predictive Networks technology matches content and advertising to appropriate subscribers. After the click-stream data is analyzed it is discarded. As a result, subscribers receive information that appeals to their current needs and interests, without compromising their privacy.

Mike Skarzynski, Predictive Networks chief executive officer, said its technology provides a very powerful platform for Internet service providers.

"Predictive Networks enables service providers to generate additional revenues through the delivery of well-targeted, unobtrusive content," Skarzynski said.

During the registration process a unique, anonymous identification number is assigned to the consumer's computer, this is used to track URLs that are visited. Personally identifiable information, such as e-mail addresses and phone number are not linked with the tracking data and is not shared with any third party.

WorldNet's Chatlos said protecting the privacy of customer information is our highest priority.

"AT&T has a long-standing reputation as a company consumers can trust," Chatlos said.

The reduced rate limited service is available for downloading, or by requesting a CD starter kit. Currently the plan is available in the U.S. only.