Responsibility for the short-sighted and short-lived attempt by US internet service provider Alta Vista to offer Britons an unmetered access service [WAMN: 23 & 31-Aug-00] was unequivocally denied by former UK managing director Andy Mitchell, who told BBC Radio 4 yesterday that he was never granted executive power to run the UK operation.

Mitchell, who joined the ISP only four weeks prior to its announcement of the ill-fated service, claims that he neither conceived nor prepared the launch: “I was less of a managing director and more of a spokesman,” he told the BBC. Alta Vista had not delegated executive authority to him and had approached the UK market assuming it was similar to its domestic US environment.

Mitchell, who yesterday took up a new position with a web company in Cambridge, fell on his sword as the public and media furore over Alta Vista’s non-existent service reached its peak. “My biggest regret is that I never grabbed and retained control,” he said. Since leaving the ISP, many in the industry had expressed the view: “Someone else made the mistake but you're the fall guy.”

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)