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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK


Sci/Tech

ADSL means broadband UK

BT Interactive is the company's first try at broadband ADSL content

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

The advent of next-generation Internet access through the old copper wires of the phone network will mean new interactive multimedia services from this autumn in the UK.

BT's ADSL technology will face competition from cable and satellite, and eventually wireless and power lines, but it has a stable of content partners ready to utilise the broadband access promised by the new service:

  • Video Networks says it will launch video-on-demand services to consumers from October in London, the first city to get the new service.


    Simon Hochhauser, Chief Executive of Video Networks
    Subscribers will have access to a big library of movies, television programmes, music videos, home shopping and banking. They can stop, fast forward, rewind or instantly skip to any point in a programme.

  • AOL UK, the subscription-based Internet Service Provider, says it plans to start ADSL trials for members in the autumn. In addition to its existing editorial, users will get access to other exclusive content areas and multimedia services such as real-time audio and video.

  • BT Interactive will be available from next March, promising news, weather, travel and finance information and on-demand video such as films and music.

"We're talking to a range of service and content providers keen to develop broadband," says BT's Products and solutions managing director Ian Morfett.

"I think you'll be seeing video news clips, video-enabled online shopping, videophones and videoconferencing and probably a whole load of other things that we can't think of at the moment."

Consumers like plain old Net

BT has been testing its interactive services with consumers in its ADSL trial in West London.

At least one of those taking part, Rupert Goodwins of IT Week, prefers the plain old Internet just speeded up and always on and says he never used the BT services:

"By all accounts nobody else on the trial bothered much either. BT provided a cumbersome and impenetrable front end to a selection of mediocre content and unreliable services that illustrated only quite how good the unadorned Web is for delivering exactly what you want with the minimum of fuss," he said.



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