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Dell announces ISP, e-commerce site

Dell Computer will begin bundling Internet-access service in the U.S. and has also announced a new e-commerce site with major Web players.

    Dell Computer today announced it will begin bundling one year of Internet service with all home PCs and at the same time launched the Dellnet ISP and portal.

    As previously reported, the PC maker also announced a new e-commerce site called DellZone, featuring partnerships with a variety of Web players. Dell will not share in any revenues from these deals, executives said today.

    In its latest Net move, Dell announced that in addition to configuring and selling computers directly to consumers and businesses, Dell will now offer its own branded Internet service, free of charge for one year, to consumers. Dell is a bit late to this market, as many PC rivals are already offering similar deals.

    Many PC makers are taking the route of offering subsidies and deep discounts on computers to customers who sign up for Net service.

    Dell will not immediately offer a similar subsidy program, the company said today. Instead, it will offer all home PC customers one year of Dellnet Internet access, along with 20MB of online storage space.

    "It's a fascinating time to be participating in this industry," said Paul Bell, senior vice president of Dell's home and small business group. "We have PC companies giving away ISP service, and ISPs giving away PCs. Everybody's subsidizing everybody else--those aren't business models, that's merchandising."

    The lowest price bundle starts at $29 per month, or $959 up front, for a Dimension L400c with 400-MHz Intel Celeron processor, 32MB of memory, 6.4GB hard drive, and 15-inch monitor. The bundle includes 150 hours of Dellnet Internet service per month, with charges for additional usage.

    Discounts can also be found at DellZone. The new site aggregates content and discounted deals from e-commerce partners Amazon, EToys, The Wall Street Journal, WebMD,, Virtual Vineyards, and ( is a joint venture between NBC and CNET, publisher of

    Dell, which sells computers directly to consumers and businesses through the Internet and by phone, has been making significant moves to refocus its business onto the Internet. Earlier this year, the company launched, an online store for computer peripherals and software, and this month launched its auction site for refurbished PCs and peripherals.