If you have a mailing address, you probably know about Internet providers because they're the people who keep cramming free signup CD-ROMs and disks in your mailbox ( creasing your National Geographic!) and begging you to join. Heck, you don't even need an address ”you get free signup disks today in magazines, cereal boxes, and bundled along with any new computer.
The provider you pull out of your cereal box might be a perfectly good choice, but it's not the only choice ”not by a long shot. In this chapter, you'll discover the full range of different ways to get signed up for the Internet, so you can choose the provider that best matches your needs and bank account. You'll also learn the basics of making that connection, so we can get you on your way.