AltaVista admits service a sham

They've coughed up - finally

Updated Andy Mitchell, MD of AltaVista in the UK and Ireland, has finally confessed that AltaVista's much-hyped unmetered Net access service does not exist.

The revelation that AltaVista consistently and deliberately lied to Net users in Britain is nothing short of a scandal.

AltaVista's actions have done immense damage to the British Net industry and dented public confidence.

In an email sent to a million people who had registered their interest in the service, Mitchell said: "AltaVista Unlimited Internet Access launched on 30 June 2000, and is currently being rolled out to our list of preregistered customers. So as to ensure the quality of this service, AltaVista has elected to rollout this service in a controlled manner. We will provide the service to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible, whilst ensuring that your online experience is a good one."

Speaking on BBC television this morning a shame-faced Mitchell finally admitted that there was no 24/7 unmetered service and that it had not signed up any onto the service.

In a statement, the ISP says it is has put its unmetered service "on hold".

No one at AltaVista was available to comment on how something that doesn't exist could be put on hold.

Today's admission comes after an intensive two-week search led by The Register to try and find anyone who was actually using the service.

The service supposedly went live on 30 June. It was supposed to be rolled out to customers at a rate of 90,000 a month. It's clear this was not strictly true. ®

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