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This is the statement in full issued by AltaVista UK last night

August 21 2000

AltaVista UK puts unmetered part of access on hold
Company to focus on Search excellence leadership

AltaVista UK today announces that it has put its unmetered Internet access product on hold.

The launch of AltaVista's unmetered access service is dependent on availability of flat rate circuits from British Telecom. Andy Mitchell, Managing Director of AltaVista UK, stated: "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."

Following the announcement earlier this year by AltaVista and a number of other companies, the UK access market has changed substantially. AltaVista is disappointed that the current state of the UK telecom market has not enabled the company to deliver an unmetered service within the timescales originally planned, but will continue to campaign for this service. Mitchell stated: "Our latest information indicates that BT may make it accessible as late as January. In the meantime they have launched their own unmetered service."

"I continue to believe passionately in the importance of bringing down the cost of Internet access, and will be working with Oftel and others to help make this a reality. Until this happens, I believe the UK will continue to lag behind the other major European markets with regards to e-ommerce development and Internet usage."

In the UK, AltaVista has made the decision to focus on its world leading search services. "Searching for information is the second most popular online activity, after email," says Andy Mitchell, "and AltaVista is the market leader in search in the UK. Traffic to the AltaVista search service is growing at a tremendous rate across Europe - currently by 1% a day according to internal data - and it is here that we will be focusing our resources."

Internet users who have taken up AltaVista's interim access products will continue to be serviced by the ISP partner, ClaraNet. ®

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