Compaq has become the first PC manufacturer to bundle broadband internet with its computers, via US internet service provider (ISP) Earthlink.
Customers buying a PC from the firm's Presario range in the US will have a choice of DSL, cable or satellite high-speed web links.
The firm said it is looking for similar agreements both in the US and abroad. In the UK, it already has narrowband bundling agreements with ISPs AOL Time Warner, BTclick and FreeServe but no broadband agreements so far.
EarthLink is one of the largest ISPs in the US. Although it does not have its own network it has reseller agreements covering DSL, cable and two-way satellite high-speed connections with a number of service providers.
Compaq said that the partnership with EarthLink was non-exclusive and would initially run for two years. The firm will receive a payment from EarthLink for each of its customers that use the new offering.
Hooking up the PC to the bundled broadband access is a little more complicated than the more usual dial-up access package.
"Unlike narrow-band services it will be a two-step process because the high-speed modem will not be included in the package," said Kevin Kyle, general manager of access solutions for Compaq.
New computer uses will be asked if they are interested in the service but only after checking availability and detailing subscription prices will the modem be shipped to the customer.
EarthLink said it aims to add 250,000 to 300,000 new high-speed subscribers this year.
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