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If your Town doesn't have Direct Access

If you don't live in an area with a public-access site, you'll still be able to connect to the Net. Several services offer access through national data networks such as the CompuServe Packet Network and SprintNet, which have dozens, even hundreds of local dial-in numbers across the country. These include Holonet in Berkeley, Calf., Portal in Cupertino, Calf., the WELL in Sausalito, Calf., Dial 'N CERF in San Diego, Calf., the World in Brookline, Mass., and Michnet in Ann Arbor, Mich. Dial 'N CERF offers access through an 800 number. Expect to pay from $2 to $12 an hour to use these networks, above each provider's basic charges. The exact amount depends on the network, time of day and type of modem you use. For more information, contact the above services.

Four other providers deliver Net access to users across the country:

Delphi, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a consumer-oriented network much like CompuServe or America On-Line -- only it now offers subscribers access to Internet services.

Charges: $3 a month for Internet access, in addition to standard charges. These are $10 a month for four hours of off-peak (non-working hours) access a month and $4 an hour for eachs additional hour or $20 for 20 hours of access a month and $1.80 an hour for each additional hour. For more information, call (800) 695-4005.

PSI, based in Reston, Va., provides nationwide access to Internet services through scores of local dial-in numbers to owners of IBM and compatible computers. PSILink. which includes access to e-mail, Usenet and ftp, costs $29 a month, plus a one-time $19 registration fee. Special software is required, but is available free from PSI. PSI's Global Dialup Service provides access to telnet for $39 a month plus a one-time $39 set-up fee. For more information, call (800) 82PSI82 or (703) 620-6651.

BIX (the Byte Information Exchange) offers FTP, Telnet and e-mail access to the Internet as part of their basic service. Owned by the same company as Delphi, it also offers 20 hours of access a month for $20. For more information, call (800) 695-4775.

NovX Systems Integration, based in Seattle, Washington, offers full Internet access through an 800 number reachable across the United States. There is a $24.95 setup fee, in addition to a monthly fee of $19.95 and a $10.5 hourly charge. For more information, call (206) 447-0800.

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