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AltaVista announces unmetered UK access to the Internet


Search engine AltaVista is to offer UK customers "free" access to the Internet in a move which could spell the end of monthly charges for Web access. For one upfront charge of £36 and an annual fee of £10, users will be able to browse via an 0800 number.

The service is to be launched within the next three months after robust testing to ensure it is completely stable. As a guarantee, AltaVista plans to limit the deal to only 500,000 subscribers in the first six months.

US Web users can already take advantage of unlimited access to the Internet because of the free cost of local telephone calls. AltaVista said its decision could save UK surfers up to £700m a year in Web charges.

Andy Mitchell, managing director of AltaVista UK commented, "The UK is still lagging behind the US when it comes to exploiting the Internet, and this is mainly caused by the high phone charges imposed by the likes of BT. By announcing free monthly access and free calls, AltaVista is hoping to increase the number of people online and the number of Internet-related jobs, which in turn will boost the British economy and place us in a competitive position with the United States."


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