LondonNet News Headlines
15/03/00
AltaVista in Free Net Access Move
- Search engine offers different vision on call charges

FREE internet access is coming to the UK following a shock announcement by AltaVista.

The search engine giant plans to launch a no call-charge service by this summer as the race to win Britain's burgeoning web community hots up. For a sign-up fee of UKP35 and a yearly admin charge of UKP10, subscribers to the new AltaVista service will pay nothing for phone charges. Other service providers, such as cable TV firms and British Telecom, are known to be planning flat rate phone charges but AltaVista's free offer is likely to grab a sizeable proportion of users.

Referring to the call-charge worries of many would-be internet users, AltaVista UK boss Andy Mitchell said, "We're taking that complication out of people's decision making."

The move to offer free access is seen by industry insiders as a bid to combat AltaVista's relative anonymity in the UK where other search engines continue to live in the shadow of Yahoo! Despite anticipated revenues from ad sales and e-commerce, critics of the giveaway believe AltaVista will fail to recoup anything like the investment they are likely to have to make.




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