with the Internet service provider EarthLink to offer Web connections to the three million merchants in the Discover/Novus point of sale network.

The deal includes special pricing and a cobranded EarthLink "personal start page."

The aim is to help Discover merchants "get on-line and begin making the most of the Net's business potential," according to the credit card subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.

EarthLink provides services that allow businesses to step up their Internet involvement progressively without having to switch providers.

"We have created a cost-effective means for our merchants to get on-line," said Tom Dailey, senior vice president at Discover, based in Riverwoods, Ill.

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