More than two months after launching its California dial-up Internet service for Windows users, Pacific Bell will give Apple loyalists equal access with a customized version of Netscape Navigator 2.02 for Macintosh.
Navigator, which includes an integrated email and a newsreader client, is the only browser that can be used for Pac Bell's service. So until now, Pac Bell had effectively shut out Macintosh users completely in a state with twice as many Mac users per capita than in most other parts of the country, according to Mark Fisher, marketing vice president of Pacific Bell Internet Services.
The Baby Bell, which launched its Internet access service in late May, will next week begin a two-month trial for the Macintosh-compatible browser. Full commercial service for Mac users should be available in October.
The company said it decided against adopting Microsoft's Internet Explorer because the Mac version, Explorer 2.1 for Macintosh, hasn't caught up yet with the feature set of the Windows version. "We weren't satisfied with anything we saw before Netscape, and there was no point to wait on the Windows side until we had a Mac solution," Fisher said.
Pac Bell's residential dial-up Internet service, the first to be offered by a Baby Bell, costs $10 a month for 10 free hours or $15 for 20 free hours. The company won't divulge the number of subscribers who have signed up so far, but Fisher said an announcement was expected in the next two weeks.
Pac Bell also offers high-speed Internet access through ISDN digital lines. The company is currently attending hearings at the California Public Utilities Commission regarding its proposed rate hikes for the service.