NetZero is back! Well, actually you may be surprised to learn that similar to other ’90s phenomenons that are still around (like Beanie Babies and Tamagotchis), NetZero never left. While the company somehow still has 750,000 paid dial-up subscribers, the latest move for NetZero is to get back in touch with its roots and once again offer free internet service, this time providing wireless broadband to users.
NetZero will provide users up to 200 MB of data per month for free. Unlike NetZero’s service during the ’90s, there will be no advertisement toolbars; the company states that these users will actually be a loss for the company. Obviously, giving customers too much free internet will put NetZero out of business super quickly, so as you can expect, there are a ton of catches with their new “free” internet service.
Even if users somehow stay below their 200 MB limit per month, they will only be allowed to keep their free account for one year, after which they would be forced to sign up for a paid account with NetZero or move on to another ISP. Additionally, customers must use a proprietary wireless card that costs $50 in order to connect to NetZero’s service.
And considering that NetZero is using the abandoned Clearwire WiMAX network for it’s service, I’m not sure users would want to end up paying for NetZero’s service once their free internet runs out.
So readers, as you can see, NetZero’s latest free service isn’t really free at all. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that the company’s original slogan “Defenders of the Free World!” has been retired for over a decade.