Yahoo!, BT Partner for Broadband Services

Portal player Yahoo is teaming with broadband provider British Telecom to offer new premium services to residential customers in the United Kingdom.

The service, dubbed Yahoo! UK Plus, rolls out in coming weeks. It features spam controls, instant messaging, multiple e-mail accounts, parental controls, digital photo storage, anti-virus software and firewall security.

A more extensive version of the service, modeled on Yahoo!/SBC’s digital subscriber line offerings, is also planned. Pricing has not yet been announced.

The companies will also spend millions of dollars on an online and offline ad campaign to support the initiative. BT has redesigned its homepage to trumpet the agreement, and Yahoo! will promote the service on its properties, which it said reach 42 percent of Internet users in the United Kingdom.

Like the Yahoo!/SBC deal, this partnership gives both companies a recipe for creating a portal-based, content-rich DSL service that would pack more punch than the average ISP and lure new customers who have not yet gone online.

“As broadband lies at the center of our strategic development, it is extremely important for us to partner with leading Internet companies like Yahoo!” said Pierre Danon, a BT executive.

Carriers believe alliances with providers of rich content such as streaming audio and video, will help convince customers to upgrade from dial-up Internet access to faster, but more expensive, broadband connections.

For example, BT’s infrastructure lets a user download either approximately 200 music tracks, 650 short videos, 10,000 pictures or around 100 large software programs every day, it said.

For Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo!, the agreement marks its first telecom partnership in Europe and better establishes its paid services, a key future revenue area.

“With our more than 2.2 million unique, paying relationships, we have been able to clearly demonstrate Yahoo!’s leadership in the premium services arena, and we are excited to build upon our momentum with this partnership,” said Terry Semel, Yahoo! chairman and CEO.

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