[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
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.