Internet access providers increasingly are turning to custom-access deals to give them an edge over the competition. Sprint is growing but still is dwarfed by other telephone companies that offer Net access, such as AT&T WorldNet.
In this case, Sprint is striking or expanding alliances with MacMillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster Interactive, NetPlay, Tarkenton Net Ventures, California Medical Association, and the Missouri Medical State Association.
For example, Simon & Schuster Interactive is distributing Passport with CD-ROM games, and NetPlay is including Passport in the distribution of a Net gaming CD-ROM. Delivering Net access to large medical groups, such as the 34,000-member California Medical Association, is a growing field as well.
"We expect to add at least one online community each week this year through Sprint Internet Private Passport, reaching millions of potential Internet users," said Jim Dodd, Sprint's vice president of Internet Services.