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AT&T Opens its eWallet to T-commerce

AT&T Broadband has come one step closer to enabling a convergent experience with the help of one Seattle Company.

AT&T announced yesterday that they have selected Seattle-based Qpass to provide eWallet transaction services for its advanced interactive TV platform.

Built on open industry standards, Qpass will provide the secure commerce infrastructure to support transactions between integrated online merchants and their customers for the sale of content, goods and services via cable set-top boxes and broadband devices.

"Interactive television will take advantage of the visual medium of television and the information-rich Internet, to offer customers a new way to shop," says Rich Fickle, senior vice president and program director for interactive television, AT&T Broadband.

According to officials at AT&T the benefits to the consumer are clear - secure and simple t-commerce transactions over a medium they are comfortable with - the television. For retailers, they believe convergence will present them with a new way to reach customers.

When fully integrated with AT&T's interactive TV platform, the Qpass customized eWallet transaction services will enable broadband subscribers to make purchases from a wide range of participating merchants via multiple payment methods, by securely storing subscriber data and payment-related information, delivering the relevant information directly into the merchant's order processing system, and capturing and storing a digital receipt for future review by the subscriber.

"At Qpass, we're enabling next-generation transactions for a connected world by adding commerce capabilities to communications platforms, and making it simple for consumers to access those commerce capabilities from a single, unified account, regardless of merchant, network or device," says Chase Franklin, co-founder and CEO of Qpass. "As the leading cable operator in the United States, AT&T has shown visionary leadership in developing and delivering compelling, customer-focused next-generation broadband services to consumers. We're excited to be working with them to provide a commerce infrastructure for interactive television that will enable a consistent purchase experience and a centralized payment account to make it easy for their subscribers to conduct transactions and buy goods and services."

Once customer information is transferred to the online merchant, payment will be handled between the merchant and the customer.

Qpass announced a similar agreement last month with AT&T Digital PocketNet and AT&T WorldNet Service to deliver online and mobile commerce capabilities to their subscribers.

AT&T Broadband is planning several interactive television trials in the coming months. One, with its partner Liberate, will begin before the end of 2000, and another, with Microsoft will begin in early 2001. The Company will commercially launch interactive television in 2001, but at this time have not announced specific dates or locations.