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As I Was Surfing That Ribbon of Highway
Can the PC replace the CB, good buddy? Officials at PNV.net say: Forget the stereotypes. Of the 1.5 million long-haul truckers in the U.S., 50% have home PCs, and 25% of drivers keep a machine with them. So on July 1, PNV.net (formerly Park 'N View Inc.) launched an Internet service provider, and it plans a portal by this fall. So far, PNV.net has wired 220 truck stops so drivers can plug into a jack next to their rig. The ISP charge: Up to $15 per month.
The company has high hopes for its portal. PNV.net envisions electronic debit cards so truckers can order merchandise such as books and truck parts online and have it sent to their home or to the next stop on their route. Truckers will be able to E-mail friends and family. They will find a digital log book on the site to track mileage and a listing of loads to haul.
PNV.net isn't the portal equivalent of a honking 18-wheeler, but it should grab a few of America Online Inc.'s customers. Troy Snyder, a 29-year-old trucker from Robinson, Ill., has switched, slashing his bill from $32 a month with AOL to $10. With the service, Snyder can keep track of weather conditions and friends. So who needs a CB radio?By IRA Sager