It's first come, first served: AltaVista

Not everyone's going to get on. Plus there's no ISP and no telco -- yet

AltaVista UK has warned that its new unmetered ISP will be rolled out first come, first served, leaving many people potentially disappointed. There's every prospect that AltaVista could be responsible for an undignified scramble for unmetered access in much the same way that embarrassed Screaming.net, CallNet0800, Telewest, et al. Andy Mitchell, MD of AltaVista UK ,told The Register this morning that people would have to expect that the service would be in high demand and that not everyone would be enrolled from day one. "There will be people who can't register for the service," he said. "The only way you can manage and launch the service is to restrict the numbers of people signing up," he said. It's understood that people will register by handing over their credit card details online. They will know there and then whether their application has been successful. Mitchell said he didn't want to see a repeat of the "several false starts" that have dogged the launch of similar services in Britain. He also said that AltaVista had yet to sign up with a telco to provide the infrastructure for the service. The company is currently in discussion with three telcos, he said, but wouldn't say which ones. So, before Net users in Britain do themselves a mischief by getting worked up into an absolute frenzy, let's just take a cold, hard look at what's on offer as of today. AltaVista has no telco backbone and no ISP in Britain. It will manage registration for the service ruthlessly. It will happen some time within the next couple of months. Clear enough? ® Related stories: Alta Vista UK to launch free everything ISP

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