Is Free Internet Access a Thing of the Past?

Do you pay for your Internet/email service? If you're a customer of Alta Vista and enjoyed free Internet access, you'll soon find out that the days for no-cost e-mail and access to the Web are numbered.

As of Sunday, Dec. 10, Alta Vista will cut off more than 3 million customers due to increased cost and lagging support of its advertisers. What was considered a viable by-product of the Internet--free ISP (Internet Service Provider) hosting--may soon be a thing of the past based on the Alta Vista scenario and others that have also failed due to cost.

In fact, the only free ISPs still operating are Juno, NetZero and KMart's Bluelight.com.

Alta Vista has built in an exit strategy for its customers; users will get three months free access before being charged $21.95/month for Microsoft-sponsored access, a deal Alta Vista worked out with Microsoft.