AltaVista to keep free net service as LineOne closes its

AltaVista, the first UK internet company to offered free unmetered internet access, has no plans to follow LineOne and pull the plug on its free internet access service.

LONDON (Brand Republic) – AltaVista, the first UK internet company to offered free unmetered internet access, has no plans to follow LineOne and pull the plug on its free internet access service.

Andy Mitchell, AltaVista UK managing director, was unfazed by the demise of LineOne’s service and said that “casualties were to be expected”. AltaVista launched its one-off, flat-rate fee, unmetered internet access service in June.

According to Mitchell, in the current climate many ISPs offering free access will inevitably encounter problems. “The success of such services depends on two things –- a carefully managed rollout and a sustainable business model. Until a flat-rate wholesale product from BT is available and usable, ISPs will be bridging this unfortunate gap with interim solutions.”

AltaVista’s interim solution is to roll out its service gradually. This, said another AltaVista spokesman, avoids the problem met by LineOne, where too many people started using the free service at once, forcing the company to drop it.

Virgin Net, another offering a free access, is also reported to have encountered problems that has led to it delaying the rollout of its Stop-the-Clock service until September. It is understood to have hit technical problems during trials. It had been due to launch this month.

Kevin Caruth, a Virgin Net spokesman, said, “The trials have been a huge success, but have thrown up a number of issues in customer support and customer service, as well as some technical issues. We need to fine-tune the service so that we can be sure to provide exactly what our customers want, unlike other services that have launched and failed.”

He added that Stop-the-Clock had been tested by 10,000 existing Virgin Net subscribers and that the service, when it launched, would be able to handle the high demand the company has forecast.



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