RealTime IT News

Prodigy Caters to Spanish-Speaking Netizens

Looking to target the growing online Latino population in the United States, Prodigy Communications Corp. Tuesday launched a Spanish-language Internet access service.

Modeled after Prodigy's original service, Prodigy's bilingual service offers in-language advertising, informational materials, news information and links to other Hispanic Web sites and services. Users can access news, sport scores, weather and local information, as well as shop online in Spanish. There are also Spanish language search engines available.

Prodigy will also provide Spanish-speaking tech support and customer service representatives to aid users who call with questions.

The Hispanic Internet population has enjoyed a recent growth spurt, and continues to grow. Prodigy estimates there are 8 million Latin Americans online currently and Forrester Research expects 43 percent of Hispanic Americans to be online by the end of 1999.

This is a largely untapped market, with only limited firms such as StarMedia offering Spanish-language portals and information. David C. Trachtenberg, Prodigy's president and chief executive officer, said the company is looking to provide the best service possible to all Internet users.

"We have the expertise to provide the Latino market with the Internet power and resources it needs and is ready to use," he said.

"Prodigy's message of 'choice' resonates with all of our customers--and now Latinos can take advantage of the choice we provide--plus, we can break down the language barriers that have kept many Spanish-speaking Americans away from the Internet."

In addition, the company announced Tuesday that it has teamed up with Recompute, a national computer seller, to provide discounted computers to users, already loaded with the bilingual Prodigy Internet service.