Prepaid Internet access was launched this week by a company named Slingshot of Seattle, Wash. Like prepaid phone cards, Slingshot Internet access can be purchased in stores and used as needed.

Slingshot comes on a CD ROM that costs $9.95. You run the CD on any modem-equipped computer connected to a telephone line, enter the access code that comes with the CD, then follow the simple, on-screen instructions. In a few seconds, you’re at Slingshot’s web page with at least 200 minutes of surfing ahead of you.
That’s if you dial out through Slingshot’s 800 number. Slingshot will also show you a list of local access numbers. If you can use one of those, then you get 600 minutes – 10 hours -- on the Internet for the same $9.95. The time can be used in any number of individual sessions.
According to the company, Slingshot does not change any critical settings on your computer, notably your own Internet access and modem settings. Your computer must have at least a 486, 33-mghz processer, 8 MB of RAM memory, a 14.4 Kbps modem, a CD-ROM drive and be running Windows 95 or better.
Initially, Slingshot is available at CompUSA, Staples and Service Merchandise outlets. A company spokesman said Slingshot was not available in truckstops just yet.