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Many blind people use computers to access the Internet. They make use of Braille keyboards, speech synthesizers, and other special adaptive equipment -- and they do it very well. But like all things, accessing the Internet can be a challenge, even for many of the sighted. What if you're blind, and emphatically NOT a computer whiz? What if you don't even own a computer?

InternetSpeech, Inc., working in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, now offers netECHO, a telephone-based means to access Web sites or read email without a computer. Once you sign up, you can use any telephone. That's all you need. A clear, easy to understand, synthesized voice will read the material you select.

What does it cost? There are two plans. Program A costs $12 a month, and allows unlimited use, but the access number you'll dial will be in the 408 area code. If you have a cell phone, with free national calling, this may be your best bet. Program B costs $21 a month, but provides a toll-free 800 number to call -- which would be better if you're calling from home. There'll be a one-time setup charge of $20, to create your account, either program.

Many blind people have trouble accessing the Internet -- but by no means is this program limited to the blind. Anyone who wishes to access the Internet by phone can make use of this service. Contact: InternetSpeech, Inc., 6980 Santa Teresa Blvd., Suite 201, San Jose, CA 95119; telephone: 1-877-312-4638 or (408) 360-7730; Web site: