AltaVista’s new service is just the tip of the iceberg
Under pressure from AltaVista and other ISP/telecom providers, Oftel last week heralded a new era of flat rate, unmetered Internet access, for all. Oftel s ruling on FRIACO (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) on Friday 26 May 2000, forced BT to make flat rate Internet access available to all other telecom providers and ISPs. Internet users in Britain will no longer have to pay per minute to go online, but will finally be able to subscribe to an unmetered service, a case which AltaVista championed back in March.
Andy Mitchell, managing director of AltaVista commented, The implications of the change are many. Most importantly, the battle for Internet dominance will move away from price and towards quality of content and service. The weight of public demand is finally bringing pressure to bear and the benefactor will ultimately be the consumer.
AltaVista Internet Access will launch on 30 June 2000. This product is the start of AltaVista s intention to lead the next stage of the Internet revolution. It will initially cost £51 (+VAT), and will enable the user to seamlessly transfer into the new FRIACO product as soon as possible. As well as affordable Internet access, it will enable users to
go through to an array of services that AltaVista offers, and its world-leading search facilities. AltaVista has partnered with an established ISP, Claranet Limited, to offer a competitive access product linking subscribers directly to the altavista.co.uk site.
Steve Rawlinson, Claranet s systems manager said: Because Claranet is not tied to any specific telephone network provider, we are in a position to ensure that customers always have the best telecoms partner in terms of price and performance.
In developing AltaVista Internet Access, AltaVista consulted 3,000 people in Britain who initially enquired about the access product, as well as the general public, through Mori Research company. The results gave new insights into what British Internet users actually want from their access service:
60% do not want to switch their telephone provider to get cheaper access online. AltaVista s new service does not require Internet Access customers to change their phone operator
59% of people stated that they did not want their service to terminate after five minutes of inactivity. AltaVista s service will have no cut-off time limit
69% of people said that they did not want constant advertising or email marketing programs bombarding them on their screens. This feature has been removed from the AltaVista service
Nine out of ten of respondents said that they would change their ISP if these improvements were offered by another provider
(Source: Mori research, April-May 2000)
Mitchell continued, This is the biggest change in the Internet since its inception and I believe that it is imperative to gauge what our customers actually want. We have refined our service in accordance with these Mori findings, so that users can benefit from the services and content without any restrictions. As the first company to recognise the need for free Internet access in the UK, AltaVista is leading the industry in explaining the implications of this change. We will also be the first to bring the real benefits of FRIACO to our customers. This is great news for the British economy as a whole, and for any individual who owns a telephone line!
In keeping with AltaVista s commitment to quality of service to its customers, AltaVista has established a helpline number (0870 876 7953 calls charged at national rate) to respond to enquiries about AltaVista Internet Access. AltaVista chose to take control of its own customer support in response to the major concerns about levels of customer service from over a third of Internet users, as reported in its research.
AltaVista Company is the premier knowledge resource on the Internet at www.altavista.com. Building on its strong search heritage and patented technology, AltaVista unlocks the vast Internet to provide the richest, most relevant information access across multiple dimensions, including: Web pages, shopping, up-to-the-minute news, live audio and video, and community resources. AltaVista.com offers informative services including the multi-dimensional AltaVista Search, pure Web page Raging Search (www.raging.com) from AltaVista, AltaVista Shopping.com, AltaVista Live! personalized portal, and AltaVista Free Internet Access.
AltaVista in Europe offers comprehensive search indexes for web users in the UK (www.altavista.co.uk), Germany (www.altavista.de) Sweden (www.altavista.de), France (www.altavista.fr), The Netherlands (www.altavista.nl) and Italy (www.altavista.it) . Each site offers powerful search capabilities and rich content.
AltaVista is a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI), Andover, Mass. AltaVista Company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and AltaVista Europe in Berkshire, United Kingdom.