Express Access - Online Communications for Washington/Baltimore
Thank you for requesting information about Express Access. This
brochure will give you some details on the services that we
offer, and how they may be of benefit to you. We at Digital
Express Group would be honored to have you as a customer.
WHAT IS EXPRESS ACCESS?
Express Access is your way of accessing the resources of the
Internet, the largest computer network in the world. There are
nearly a million computers and workstations connected to the
Internet, and over 10 million people use the network, in more
than 100 countries.
Many of the resources of the Internet, such as Electronic Mail,
Newsgroups, and File Transfer, are available to anyone who wants
to use them. That is where Express Access comes into the
picture. Rather than spend a fortune to be connected to the
network, you can use the news and mail resources of Express
Access for as little as $15 per month.
The Internet is a network that was originally built by the
United States Government to allow research labs, universities
and the government to share resources and communicate; it has
since evolved and grown from a research network to a general
communications utility. Social, recreational and business
messages are now a major part of the traffic, and the network is
being converted into a commercially funded and managed entity.
This evolution makes it possible for members of the public to
gain Internet access. Millions of users already have access to
the network, and it is still growing at a phenomenal rate.
As you might expect, with all these people connected, they have
devised ways to share information; we at Express Access invite
you to join the Internet Community and share in this information
yourself, for personal or business purposes (or both!).
WHAT DOES EXPRESS ACCESS OFFER?
Express Access is your gateway to useful information of all
kinds. The Internet Community has two main tools for sharing
information; Electronic Mail and Newsgroups. With Express
Access, you have unlimited use of both. There are also services
such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) which allow you to download
files from many sites around the network, and Telnet which
allows you to connect to computers all over the world and log
into them and use them. Internet Relay Chat (IRC), for
real-time conversation, is also available as part of the
Internet Services account.
Electronic mail allows users to send messages to other computer
users locally and around the world. Mail can be sent via the
Internet, to other computer networks such as Fidonet, and to
other services such as MCI Mail and Compuserve.
Newsgroups are the major source of information on the Internet.
They are like bulletin boards which are based on topic; anyone
can post messages to any newsgroup. Express Access makes all of
the newsgroups available to its customers, without regard to
content, in the belief that it is the user's business which
newsgroups they read. Topics range from professional
discussions and information, to recreational and controversial
Most newsgroups are distributed outside of the United States as
well as within, and the range of viewpoints can be impressive.
There are well over a thousand newsgroups, some in foreign
languages, but the vast majority are in English. All of the
newsgroups together generate over 5000 screens of text each day;
surely no one person could ever read all of them, but it does
show you what a broad range of choices you have. Special
software is available to allow the Express Access user to view
their choice of newsgroups, and manage the messages contained
A user can participate in newsgroups, or just read them
anonymously. You can subscribe and unsubscribe at any time, in
Telnet provides a direct connection between your Express Access
account and other computers. Other services that can be reached
using Telnet include information providers, commercial services,
and multi-user games (MUDs). Users with accounts on other
computers on the network can reach those systems using Telnet.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) allows you to download files from
archives all over the world; more than simply a single system
with a collection of files, the Internet represents the largest
network in the world, connecting thousands of sites that offer
you files to download. In addition, a service called ARCHIE
will take your descriptions and find files which match,
searching all over the world for the files that you want. This
is also part of our Internet Services account.
Unix Access is also provided, but a knowledge of UNIX is not at
all needed to use Express Access! Even people who are new to
computers find our service easy to use, and our manual and
online help make it easy for them to enjoy the Internet without
having to become "experts" in computer technology.
WHAT DOES IT DO FOR ME?
Perhaps an example of how we use it here at Digital Express will
give you an idea of how useful Internet Access really is.
We use Express Access in many ways. Some people use the
electronic mail system to keep in touch with friends across
town, and around the world. Electronic Mail is great for
scheduling meetings, and doing business. Some people here have
family members on the net, and send personal mail as well. If
you have a child or relative at a major university in the US (or
even in some other countries) the odds are good that they have
Internet access, and that you can communicate with them via
We are on a mailing list of people who get together regularly
and try new restaurants in the DC and Baltimore areas. We track
the "forsale" newsgroups, both national and local, and buy
things from people who post to them. The net is the first place
we turn to with technical questions, or to purchase computer
Several of us use newsgroups to keep up with the latest
information in our professions. For example, one person tracks
computer networking, and finds that the trade press is months
behind the people on the net. People discuss skiing on the net
and set up ski parties; people discuss cooking, cars, computers,
graphics, dancing, and hundreds of other topics. Some people
read only a few topics, others 8 or 9, and some track dozens of
different newsgroups. See the attached sheet for a partial
We use Telnet to use other systems on the net, and we use FTP to
get files from systems everywhere. Most everything that we need
in the way of programs, files, digitized photos, and technical
information is available from the archives on the network.
Like most "information utilities" there is a lot here to see,
but unlike services that give you access to a stack of
information that has been sitting there for months or even
years, Express Access information moves fast, updated constantly
from the Internet.
WHAT DO I NEED TO USE EXPRESS ACCESS?
Since Express Access is a computer system that allows you to
connect using your telephone, you will need a modem along with a
PC or terminal. The Express Access system supports a wide
variety of computer terminal types; call us if you are not sure
about a given type or brand.
Our Users Guide, which is sent to you when you subscribe to the
service, has a very complete section on how to get hooked up to
Express Access, and we are glad to assist you over the phone
with your initial setup if need be.
Express Access is connected to both Washington and Baltimore
area phone lines, so that it is a local call from Metro
Baltimore and Metro Washington areas, and most anything in
between. If you are not sure if we cover your area, call us at
our business number and we will tell you. Presently our main
voice number is not local to the Baltimore area, but our dial-in
lines are, so if you have to dial long-distance to our office,
it does not mean that the Express Access service is
long-distance to you. Call us and we will check your phone
number to tell you for sure if you are local.
Also, if you are connected to the Internet, you can use the
Telnet facility to connect to our system, at no extra charge.
BUT I ALREADY HAVE AN INTERNET ACCOUNT AT WORK...
We have a number of users of Express Access who already have
Internet access at work. Why would they want to have another
account when their employer is already providing one? For one,
most employers do not get all of the Newsgroups; they take only
the ones that they think apply to their business, so if an
employee wants access to any of the others, they can obtain an
account with us. Also, some of the Newsgroups are of a private
nature, and privacy law is very different for an employee of a
company running on that company's system, and a customer of ours
who is paying for a service such as Express Access. Our privacy
policy does not allow for any violation of customer privacy,
under any circumstances. This is described in great detail in
the Users Guide.
Accounts may be set up using a fictitious name or handle, if you
wish to conceal your true identity or be completely anonymous.
Fill in the "Your name as you want it to appear to others" blank
on the application form.
BUT I DON'T LIVE IN THE WASHINGTON/BALTIMORE AREA...
Express Access is available for such a low monthly rate that
many users prefer to use it even though they are not located in
our local calling area. Services like PC-PURSUIT can reduce the
"long distance" charges to $1 per hour for 30 hours per month.
Couple that with the low basic service rate of Express Access at
$15 per month, and you can have Internet access for a lot less
than you thought. Compare this with services whose network
charges are as high as three to five dollars an hour, and you
can see that you can afford to read the newsgroups that you
really want to read, for as long as you need to take, with
Express Access. From anywhere in the US, it is still an
economical alternative. Contact PC-Pursuit (Sprint) at
800-736-1130 for info.
CAN CORPORATIONS USE EXPRESS ACCESS ALSO?
Yes, Express Access accounts can be used by individuals for
business or personal use. Many consultants find that they need
to communicate with clients or customers on the Internet, but
they have no "home" system on which they can use mail; now they
can use Express Access. Small firms may not have the time or
money needed to be "on the net" but they can buy accounts on
Express Access and be connected easily and quickly. Some large
firms who are on the net may recommend to a supplier or
consultant that they obtain an Express Access account when
security considerations prevent the large company from giving
outsiders accounts on their own systems.
Contact our office for more information on business accounts,
and group discounts. There are a number of special services
which may work well for you if you want to do business over the
SO, WHAT'S THE DEAL?
Ah, the bottom line. Express Access costs $15 per month for an
account that provides Electronic Mail and full Newsgroup access.
For many people, this is the right level of service. An account
with complete Internet access (FTP, Telnet, IRC, etc.) is $25
per month. In both cases, that gets you up to an hour of time
dialed into the system each day, with no restrictions as to the
time of day. You can keep up to 2 megabytes (about 1,000 full
screens) of information on our system for free (sometimes there
are articles from newsgroups that you want to keep around for
reference, or mail, etc.)
If you want to use more time than the one hour each day that is
included, additional time is a dollar an hour; certain hours
during each day incur no extra charge. Additional disk space is
ten cents per megabyte per day (this lets you keep something
large around for a few days if you need to, without having to
pay for the extra disk for the whole month).
We have a special offer of a years access (12 months) for the
price of 10 months. Thus, for the E-mail and Netnews only
account, a year is $150 (payment in advance) and for the
Internet Services account (which also includes E-mail and
Netnews), it is $250 for a year (also, in advance). The year in
advance payment does not cover additional connect time or disk
storage, as listed above; we will bill you in electronic mail
HOW DO I ACCEPT THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY?
If you have a major credit card, you can obtain an Express
Access account almost immediately! Simply call our system with
your modem at the following numbers:
Washington and PC-Pursuit: 301-220-0462
Telnet: digex.com [188.8.131.52]
Choose "Instant Account Application" from the menu and fill out
the form. Your account will be activated within 24 hours, and
you'll receive a User's Guide in the mail.
You can also fill out the attached application, sign it, attach
a check for $15.00 or $25.00 made payable to Digital Express
Group, and mail it in to us. We will process your application,
set up your account and send you:
Username and Password - Quick Reference Guide - Users Guide
The Users Guide will give you step by step instructions on how
to use Express Access, what you can do with it, and references
for learning even more about the Internet and other interesting
topics. If at any time you have questions or need any help, the
users guide will tell you how you can get the assistance that
you need. For now, if you have any questions, you can either
call us at our phone number, or if you have network access you
can send your questions to [email protected]
and we will reply via
We hope that this has given you some insight into what we are
offering; "the net" is a wonderful tool, a fascinating pastime,
and a truly amazing resource. Please accept our offer to join
us on Express Access!
Express Access accounts are on a Sun Microsystems server running
SunOS. We support dial-in modems at 14,400 bps (V.32bis), 9600 bps
(V.32), 2400, 1200 and 300 bps, with V.42/V.42bis/MNP5 compression.
Available software includes GNU Emacs and gcc; rn, trn, and nn
newsreaders; Pine, Elm, and rmail mailreaders; x/y/zmodem and
Kermit comm protocols; and all standard UNIX utilities. If we
don't have the software you want, please ask! We can probably
get it for you.