U.S. Political Parties Take On the Web

Political parties are heating up this year’s election activities on the
Web, but the Democratic
National Committee
most likely won’t win many votes with fee-based
Internet service providers.

Democrat’s Friday launched its politically charged free ISP service through
access facilitator MillionEyes.com.

The DNC is pitching its free Internet access program as a bridge over the
“Digital Divide.” Located at FreeDEM.com, DNC National Chair Joe
Andrew said Democrats are proud to become the first political party to
offer free Internet access for all.

“The Democratic Party is a party by the people and for the people,” Andrew
said. “Providing quality Internet access to all citizens, regardless of
financial status or political party preference, will be a major step toward
building more on-ramps to the information superhighway and closing the gap
between the wired and non-wired communities.”

Developed by Massachusetts-based iBelong.com, the DNC portal is designed
to be a gateway to all kinds of political information, as well as a source
for up-to-the-minute news, weather, stock quotes, sports updates, and more.

Edward G. Rendell, DNC general chairman, said the portal is a way for all
American’s to get more involved in the political process through online
resources.

“Along with providing valuable Internet and e-mail service, we want to
encourage all people to become involved in our nation’s political process,”
Rendell said. FreeDEM.com will be another innovative way for Democrats to
communicate and have their voices heard.”

Visitors to freeDEM.com are invited to participate in, lead and contribute
to online discussion groups and message boards to voice their views on any
subject.

MillionEyes.com develops marketing partnerships with companies and
organizations by offering private-label, turnkey ISP solutions.

Donnie Gross, MillionEyes.com chairman and chief executive officer, said
the DNC service would provide full access to all that the Internet has to
offer for the cost of a local phone call.

“Because income is the factor that determines whether a family can afford a
computer and the monthly fees required to connect to the Internet, we’re
pleased to help the DNC make its service free to everyone,” Gross said.

DNC’s Andrew said working with MillionEyes.com would allow it to bring
thousands of people into the on-line community that in the past have been
unable to afford it.

“The Democratic Party believes that the way to make this country even
greater is to give everyone equal opportunity to make the most of his or
her potential and the Internet is one way to do that,” Andrew said.

The DNC free ISP access can be downloaded from the Web or installed from a
CD-ROM starter kit. MillionEyes.com dial-up access is available nationwide
through more than 2,500 points-of-presence for local dial-up service. The
firm will also provide 24-7 customer support online and offline.

Not to be out-maneuvered on the Web, House Republicans Friday launched a
new Web portal dubbed Federal Election Commission strictly
oversees traditional media and campaign financing, but regulators do not
have any Internet laws on the books at this ti

me.

Because the FEC remains in the first stages of developing rules for online
campaigns, neither the Democratic or Republican Web initiatives violate
federal election laws.

Politics has almost always been a hotbed of controversy on the Web. This
election year both major political parties intend to make the most of the
unregulated medium’s ability to entertain political discourse.

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