RealTime IT News

BTopenworld to Offer POPcast Personal Broadcasting Services

[London, ENGLAND] BTopenworld, the international Internet business of BT, announced Tuesday a deal with personal broadcasting solutions provider POPcast Communications Corp., enabling BTopenworld users to author and host their own streaming media.

The agreement means that from next week onwards, BT's Internet customers will be able to use all the facilities offered by the POPcast service, including the creation of video clips for broadcasting to other Internet users.

Ben Andradi, chief operating officer of BTopenworld, ventured the opinion that personal broadcasting is the future of the Internet.

"The success of 'fly-on-the-wall' TV shows such as 'Big Brother,' combined with the power of digital broadband technologies and the distribution reach of the Net, will lead to a wave of online creativity and video-based e-commerce," said Andradi.

The idea that millions of people will wish to broadcast video to everyone else is one that many companies will find appealing. However, it presupposes widespread availability of low-cost broadband services that few people have yet seen, let alone acquired in the U.K.

Nonetheless, POPcast believes that more than 90 percent of Internet users in the U.K. will be using rich media services at least once a month within five years.

Although streaming media ideally requires a broadband infrastructure, BT will also make the POPcast services available to customers of its narrowband service BT Internet, as well as to mobile portal and service providers.

William Mutual, POPcast's chairman and founder, emphasized the ease-of-use aspects of POPcast's proprietary offerings and said his company would help BT "empower its customers with truly revolutionary, cutting-edge communications capabilities."

This year, BT grouped its international mass market Internet activities into BTopenworld, bringing a scattered portfolio together under one heading. It claims 2.5 million equity ISP customers in Europe and had a total turnover of US $145 million in the year to the end of March 2000.