AltaVista provides its Free Access service through 1stUp, which
is owned by AltaVista's parent company, CMGI. AltaVista was one
of the first of the major portals to jump into the free Internet
access game, and the software has become better as it's been upgraded.
The prior version of Free Access required users to click on an
ad or link in the ad window every so often to stay connected.
The most recent upgrade to the software removed this annoying
1stUp has been getting better at providing better Internet connections.
When I tried Free Access first, several months ago, the service
was very slow during peak Internet usage periods. Recently, the
service has gotten better. Along with the removal of the ad-click
requirement, this places AltaVista's service among the top free
ISP's, and earns it a 4 star rating