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The Starr Report: Internet under massive strain

KENNETH STARR'S report to Congress may have been the defining moment in the Clinton presidency, but it was also the moment when on-line news delivery came of age.

The decision to publish Mr Starr's report directly on the World Wide Web has virtually guaranteed that it will be most widely read Internet document ever.

An estimated 100 million Net users have access to the report - 4 million in the UK - and the numbers trying to access the Congressional site have seen bottlenecks quickly emerge, with some computer experts predicting failure of the server.

The BBC News Online service said it was expecting interest to swamp even that generated by the death of the Princess of Wales. Phil Codling, Internet network analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Potentially the weakest link is the pipe into the Washington server. There might be rather more Internet traffic than usual, but it won't be enough to kill the network."