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Free Web Access Launched in Mexico

March 7, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Reshaping the race to expand the Internet in Mexico, a Spanish company on Monday introduced free online access in the three largest cities.

Terra Networks is Mexico’s second-largest Internet service provider, with 82,000 customers at the end of last year. Many Mexican providers have resisted offering free access, including Telefonos de Mexico S.A., the country’s largest provider by far.

Terra hopes to lure computer owners who don’t use the Internet, said Arturo Galvan, director of Terra Networks Mexico. The company estimates there are 2.5 million personal computers in Mexico, but only 750,000 are connected to the Internet.

In a news release, Terra said it launched free access in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico’s three largest cities, and will introduce it ``soon″ in other cities.

Terra operates a popular Mexican consumer portal that offers everything from political news to chats with soap-opera stars and financial information networks. The portal reported 67 million page views in December.

IFX Corp. last month launched free Internet access in Mexico and other Latin American countries through its Tutopia site. But IFX is a relatively minor player in the Internet market.

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