RealTime IT News

BBC News To Be Content Partner In @Home Nederland

BBC News announced Wednesday that it will be a strategic content partner in @Home Nederland, providing daily updated world news to the Dutch broadband service.

@Home Nederland is a European initiative of Excite@Home, Intel Corp. and two Dutch cable operators. Subscribers to it will get "always on" services at a fixed price per month, with no telephone charges.

"This agreement shows that established broadcasting corporations like the BBC understand the power of broadband Internet and its great opportunities for reaching people in a new way," said Rik Rensen, content and programming director of @Home Nederland.

"Next to the news feeds from earlier partners such as SBS 6, Fox TV, ANP, Beursmedia and online multi-player gaming from Segasoft, the BBC audiovisual assets will be an excellent addition to @Home's fast growing content," he added.

UK citizens who are obliged to support the BBC with compulsory licence fees -- while being effectively prevented from obtaining "always on" Internet access by BT -- may well greet the Dutch news with cynicism. The BBC has been criticised recently for planning to enter the ISP market in the UK, using its dominant position in the media to force commercial operators out of business.

However, the BBC is determined to push ahead as fast as possible in online media.

"Our strategy is to have the skills, knowledge and strategic partnerships to move quickly to take advantage of leading edge communications like broadband Internet by cable," said Tony Hall, BBC News' chief executive.

Dutch users, many of whom through geographical proximity receive BBC radio and TV programmes without having to pay a licence fee, will be greatly cheered by today's news.