Democrats' party line: Free Web access

In a bid to tap the appeal of the Internet, the Democratic National Committee

is offering free Internet service to anyone with a computer and a telephone


The service,, provides users with news, sports scores, weather,

links to online shopping, the ability to send and receive e-mail, Internet

access and a healthy dose of Democratic campaign rhetoric.

The site invites users to register to vote, volunteer to help the campaign

and, of course, contribute to the Democratic Party.

"This election year, technology allows us to be more open than ever before.

We invite you to participate in the drafting of our 2000 Democratic Platform,"

says a message from presidential candidate Al Gore, who has made the Internet

and electronic government a key issue in his campaign.

Free Internet service is one way the Democratic Party can help bridge the

digital divide, says a message from DNC chairman Joe Andrew. Monthly fees

that typically cost about $20 per month for Internet service make access

too expensive for many people, the party contends.

FreeDEM Internet service is provided through, a Bethesda,

Md., marketing company that produces free Internet and e-mail services that

companies can offer clients. Advertising targeted to users' profiles and

Internet habits pays for the service.

The Republican National Committee offers a similar Internet service through

its portal. But there is a charge of $19.95 per month for Internet



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