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AltaVista Delivers Free Internet Access

AltaVista Co. Thursday became the latest player to offer free Internet access.

AltaVista free Internet access is a nationwide dial-up service offering an Internet connection to subscribers with no monthly service fees.

The free service is combined with AltaVista MicroPortal, launched earlier this year. The personalized desktop window permits users to customize their media services and AltaVista search capabilities.

To promote the free service, new registrants to AltaVista are eligible receive more than $5 million in electronic cash and prizes good toward millions of products available at AltaVista's Shopping.com.

Rod Schrock, Alta Vista president and chief executive officer, said the company plans to make the most of the free Internet business model.

"A totally free Internet service takes on significant importance when quality is the underlying proposition," Schrock said. "Only AltaVista is delivering a totally free Internet experience that fulfills the expectations and high standards of Web enthusiasts. Why continue to pay $240 per year or more when a totally free service easily meets your needs?"

Schrock added AltaVista's new Internet offering has successfully undergone a testing period for several weeks among several thousand users.

"All indications lead us to believe this will be a tremendous offering from AltaVista. We anticipate an immediate, overwhelming demand for this integrated, totally free Internet service," Schrock said.

Due to the AltaVista free service initiative, many local and regional Internet service providers have removed links to the company from search options on their Web sites and corporate portals. ISPs offering local and regional dial-up access say they will look for a more ISP-friendly search site.