September 25, 2001, 12:00 AM

Kmart drops the banners on its ISP, adds local access numbers

Kmart is removing the banner ads from its BlueLght Internet service. Instead of banner ads, customers logging on to the Internet through the BlueLight ISP will get a task bar linking them to e-mail and to BlueLight.com.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Are consumers sick of the relentless advertising on the Internet? Kmart Corp. thinks so. Kmart is removing the banner ads from its BlueLght Internet service. When customers log on to the Internet through the BlueLight ISP they no longer will get banner ads. Instead, they will see a task bar that links them to their e-mail accounts and online specials at BlueLight.com. The bar can be positioned wherever the user wants it.

Kmart also has increased local dial-up numbers by 10% and says it will continue to add numbers. The BlueLight Unlimited Internet Service is available for $8.95 a month.

Kmart cites a survey by Consumer Reports this month that states that 32% of users cite low monthly cost as the most important factor when choosing an ISP. In addition, 35% of the respondents say the motive for switching ISPs was troublesome phone connections that were often interrupted and busy signals.

Qwest Communications International Inc. is providing the additional access numbers. Qwest will provide additional dial-up Internet access ports for customers in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

"We have seen an incredible response to our new BlueLight Unlimited Internet Service and want to make sure we can meet demand levels by providing the highest level of connectivity possible," said Heidi Gibson, general manager for Kmart`s BlueLight Unlimited ISP. "It`s critical that we form relationships with stable, high-quality network services providers such as Qwest to fulfill our commitment to our subscribers to provide always-available Internet access."

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