I vaguely remember uunet, pipex, and I did for a long time use clara.net but before that - I think - I had a quick try in the walled garden of Compuserve and then for a while used the revolutionary Freeserve - technically a phone service provider I think, starting in 1998, charging only for calls at a local rate and with no monthly fee. Here’s a TV advert from 2001:
From a BBC article:
Back in the mists of time (even as far back as 1998), it was quite normal for internet providers to charge a subscription of about £15 a month for dial-up access, which would be in addition to the cost of the phone calls.
For many people who wanted to get online but were wary of how much it would cost, help was at hand. Electrical shop Dixons started giving away CDs which would give access to its new creation, Freeserve.
Before long Freeserve became the biggest internet provider in the country; nearly every other supplier followed its lead and charged people only for the time they were online. It became, according to web folklore, the UK’s first internet brand.
And here’s another TV advert:
All that’s rather UK-centric - natural for me! - but Jimmy Maher covers the US scene in a series of articles. Here’s a Prodigy ad from 1988: