I would like to know more about America Online in Hong Kong as its site does not provide much information. I subscribe to Netvigator with its 'standard plan', and have a 56K modem. Do you think it is worth changing to AOL? Also, do you know any companies in Hong Kong that offer LAN connections to the Net for use at my home, are cheap and reliable, and provide a good service? SAURABH AGARWAL HONG KONG The AOL service costs users $108 per month for unlimited dial-up access. The company provides on CD-Rom software that enables access to proprietary AOL services and content. The monthly fee does not, of course, include the Public Non-Exclusive Telecommunications Service (PNETS) tariff of $1.98 an hour which all Internet companies are required to charge customers for dial-up Net access. AOL does not insist that you sign up for its dial-up Net access plan in order to get access to its proprietary content and services. You can use any Internet connection - your account with Netvigator, for example - and use the AOL software to get into its on-line service. The firm charges only $40 per month for unlimited access through this plan. Bear in mind, though, that you will still be paying your Netvigator access fees. Services available through AOL include five screen names for members of your family, 'parental controls' so that children can be kept away from adult content or from perverts on-line, free home-page storage space and private chat rooms. The service also has customised content in English and Chinese, but this content falls well short of the Web-based offerings of some of Hong Kong's more mature on-line services and content providers. It is still too early for me to judge the quality of AOL's dial-up access service; this will change as subscribers increase. However, AOL has a global reputation for good quality that I hope will be seen in Hong Kong, too. Among AOL's competitors in Hong Kong is CTINets [ www.ctinets.com ], which offers a vast array of content free through its Web site and, more importantly, offers dial-up users free access - not counting the PNETS tariff. I assume by the 'LAN connection' that you refer to some form of high-speed access. You can get that through a service such as Super Netvigator (1.5 Mbps downstream speed) or by getting a leased line through any local ISP. If you are keen on home networking, check out www.smarthome.com to get an idea of what you can do with a wired home and the gadgets available. Also, watch out for coverage of this popular area in future issues of Technology Post, both in print and on-line at www.technologypost.com . E-mail Larry Campbell at techtalkscmp.com. Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. Technology Post reserves the right to edit letters.