FirstMark, Microsoft, Compaq Sign Broadband Agreement

Microsoft and
Compaq announced Thursday an
agreement to create a series of broadband Internet hosting
centers throughout Europe.

FirstMark, which is active in twelve major European countries including
Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the U.K., says it is working
with the other companies to develop a blueprint for the centers. These
“Solution Hotels” will be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs), and will host e-commerce and other solutions from top online
application providers.

The new centers will use Compaq’s NonStop data center server technology
and Microsoft’s Windows DNA 2000 development to create the hosting

FirstMark says it intends to work closely with both local European
and U.S. providers of online services and applications, offering
them a new gateway to the European marketplace.

John Leftwich, vice president, sales and marketing, Microsoft EMEA,
said the combination of Microsoft’s Windows DNA 2000 platform running
on Compaq servers and FirstMark’s pervasive broadband infrastructure
would create a powerful platform for the delivery of a new generation
of online services for SMEs.

Gerard van de Aast, vice president and general manager, Enterprise
Solutions and Services Group, Compaq EMEA, thought the initiative
would greatly benefit Compaq, enhancing its position as an enabler
for service providers.

“The types of services offered by FirstMark as a result of this agreement
have the potential to fundamentally reshape the productivity and
competitiveness of European SMEs,” said van de Aast.

FirstMark says that following the agreement it will now connect
its pan-European Broadband Internet network to Compaq’s European
Technology Center in France.

Germany is the target for the first Broadband Internet Gateway,
scheduled for the third quarter, with others being deployed
in the U.K., Spain, and France in the following months.

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