NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Juno Online Services Inc. on Monday became the latest firm to offer free, advertising-subsidized Internet access.|
The New York-based firm, one of the earliest providers of free e-mail services, previously offered full Internet access for $9.95 a month to its subscribers.
Juno (JWEB) will continue to offer the fee-based service for customers who want premium features and higher levels of customer services than those included with the free service.
The announcement sent Juno shares rising 4-11/16, more than 28 percent, to 21-1/16 in morning trading.
In the third quarter, Juno reported 2.9 million active accounts, though most of those customers subscribed to the free e-mail service. Only 500,000 of those subscribers paid for Internet access.
With competition for subscribers fierce, Juno hopes free Internet access will pull it up toward the ranks of America Online Inc. (AOL), which boasts 20 million subscribers to its service.
"With the addition of Web access to our free package of basic services and the planned acceleration of our highly successful subscriber acquisition program, we hope to be providing Web access to more individuals than any ISP or online service other than America Online before too much longer," said Charles Ardai, Juno president and chief executive officer.
With the free service, customers must complete a member profile questionnaire. Data from those profiles will be used to display highly targeted advertising and e-commerce promotions to each subscriber. Users cannot remove the ads while they are connected to the Web.
Juno also said it plans to introduce a high-speed service, called Juno Express, in 2000. Juno Express will use DSL technology, which provides high-speed transmissions over standard phone lines.