AltaVista puts free internet on hold

The service would have allowed users to log on to the internet as much as they liked while only paying a single monthly charge.

For the last two weeks AltaVista has been unable to comment on whether its unmetered service had actually started and a nationwide search by newspapers and websites to find any users of the service proved fruitless.

The only person able to comment was AltaVista managing director Andy Mitchell, who has been on holiday, but returned to the office today.

According to AltaVista, it’s unmetered access service depended on theavailability of flat rate circuits from BT. It said the failure by BT to provide this service has led to the postponement of its unmetered service, possibly until next year.

Mitchell said in a statement released late Monday: ‘AltaVista access is the symptom but not the cause. We are reliant on the provision of flat-rate circuits from BT, direct to the end-user, to be able to offer a service that is sustainable, quality-focused, and economically viable. To date BT has failed to make this possible, and its continuing delays make it difficult to plan a solution.’

AltaVista announced its £59 a year unmetered service at the start of June and said within two weeks, customers will be ‘invited to come on board’. However, the recent uncertainty surrounding the status of the service has lead to speculation that it may have changed its plans following the problems faced by many unmetered ISPs that launched in response to AltaVista’s initial announcement.

LineOne ended its unmetered service last month and CallNet has scrapped its 0800 service. Breathe also axed 500 users from its unmetered service after heavy usage disrupted its service.

Claranet, the ISP that provides the connectivity for AltaVista, told sister site that the service was working fine and had no technical problems.

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