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AltaVista to offer free Internet service

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Palo Alto, Calif.--Internet search engine AltaVista said Thursday that it will offer free Internet access, challenging the current system of customers paying subscription fees to Internet service providers. The new program converts AltaVista completely to an advertiser-revenue model. Called FreeAccess, the downloadable service is available to online customers who complete a questionnaire that enables AltaVista to "deliver advertising and offers that are customized" to users' interests. AltaVista is currently owned by Compaq Computer Corp., which has agreed to transfer 83% of AltaVista to CMGI.
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