ROME (04/11/2000) - AltaVista Co. has launched an Internet service in Italy, its sixth new country-specific site to open in Europe in the last five months, the search engine company announced today.
The new service was unveiled today by AltaVista Italia Chief Executive Officer Marc Fleischhacker at a press conference held at the top of the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan. The company also publicized the new service by taking out full-page advertisements in major Italian newspapers.
AltaVista will offer free Internet access in conjunction with Italian telecommunications operator Wind SpA, providing a guaranteed bandwidth four times the Italian average, Fleischhacker reportedly told reporters.
"We guarantee a maximum of 20 customers per modem," Fleischhacker reportedly said, according to the ADN-Kronos news agency. Rival Italian ISPs (Internet service providers) have an average of between 50 and 60 clients per modem, according to Fleischhacker.
"AltaVista will continue to identify and expand into new international markets to provide search, new media, commerce and community services that meet the demand of Web enthusiasts worldwide," AltaVista Co. Chief Executive Officer and President Rod Schrock said in a prepared statement.
As well as free Internet access, AltaVista Italia will offer free e-mail and search capabilities from the company's 270 million unique Web pages, including access to an Italian index covering approximately 95 percent of all sites based in Italy, the company said. AltaVista will also offer a free translation service using the AltaVista Babelfish software. The new AltaVista Italian site follows the opening of European ventures in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K., the company said.
Newspaper advertisements featured a gentleman in dark glasses and a Mafia-style cloth cap identified as Don Uorri and concluded with the exhortation "Bi eppi" -- a rendering of the Italian pronunciation for "Don't Worry" and "Be Happy" respectively that doesn't require a Babelfish translation to be understood.
AltaVista Italia can be contacted on the World Wide Web at http://www.altavista.it/. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, AltaVista Co. is a majority-owned operating company of CMGI Inc. and can be contacted at +1-650-617-3400, and on the Web at http://www.altavista.com/.