RealTime IT News

Excite@Home to Launch High-Speed Services in Germany

In a move to take advantage of Deutsche Telekom's departure from Germany's cable market, Excite@Home (ATHM) Wednesday inked a deal for a joint venture with German cable operator Tele-Columbus.

The new venture, to be called @Home Deutschland, which will develop a regional version of the high-speed cable Internet service.

@Home Deutschland will offer users broadband content and multimedia applications in addition to the high-speed access service. The end-to-end platform offers competing cable companies one service through which content from various providers can be managed.

Tele-Columbus will contribute its approximately 2 million subscribers, which represents around 10 percent of the German market share. The company, which is Germany's second largest cable provider, is also expected to sign on to deliver the new service.

The venture expects that other cable companies will also join in partnership and thereby increase the total number of homes that the service will reach. Herbert Leifker, chief executive of Tele-Columbus, Wednesday invited "all German cable operators to join @Home Deutschland and reap the benefits of this partnership."

The companies expect this market, which will include cable companies that former monopoly Deutsche Telekom is required to sell off, will represent up to 16.3 million homes.

"With 11 million Internet users, Germany is an extremely promising market for high-speed cable Internet services to the PC and other devices," said John O'Farrell, Excite@Home's senior vice president, international. "This proposed venture is a tremendous next step in @Home's European expansion, building on our successful launch of @Home Nederland."

Tele-Columbus is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank Investor, which also partnered in the venture.

Germany has the second largest overall cable market, and ranks third in list of the world's online populations.

Excite@Home launched its @Nederland service in May, in cooperation with Intel (INTC) and two Dutch cable companies and with content provided by the BBC.