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France Telecom, FVC.COM Team to Develop IP Video Player

France Telecom and FVC.COM announced Thursday their intention to bring out an IP-based video player that will enable two-way video for PC users.

The software-only player is expected to be dramatically less expensive than today's hardware equivalents, yet deliver comparable performance. It will be used for chat and conferencing over the broadband Internet at speeds of 400kb/second or greater.

Work on the player is already well advanced, with a beta test currently running. The two companies expect to launch the product in the second quarter of 2000, integrating it into FVC.COM's new Click to Meet video service.

"By partnering with leading European research lab France Telecom R&D, we are leveraging their expertise in delivering carrier-class IP solutions to the market," said Rich Beyer, president and chief executive officer of FVC.COM.

Philippe Alezard, head of videoconferencing solutions of France Telecom said the new technology will provide key applications for multinational corporations looking to deploy high audio and video applications within their businesses.

The new application could be one of the most successful ever developed for the Internet, given the high level of demand for videoconferencing and the need for less expensive systems. Clearly, its success in Europe and elsewhere will depend on whether broadband suppliers can deliver a consistent, high speed service at a reasonable cost.

France Telecom, with 1999 revenues of over $26 billion, operates in over 75 countries. As well as telephony, data and wireless services it offers multimedia, Internet, cable TV, broadcast and value-added services.

FVC.COM specializes in broadband video networking, and offers a wide range of two-way and streaming video systems for Internet-based video calls, conferences, mail and events.

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