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PointCast to target telcos

Push provider eyes portal opportunity with telcos' DSL services

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Troubled Internet 'push' provider PointCast is believed to be expanding on its recently signed deal with British Telecom to target other telcos and push its information services as a portal for their Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Net access offerings. PointCast's attempt to bring its Internet-based data delivery service to the masses foundered largely on the software's huge bandwidth needs. To get the most from the PointCast Network, users need a high-speed permanent connection to the Net. DSL, which in the US offers connection speeds of up to 1.5Mbps, looks like just the technology to provide sufficient bandwidth to domestic and small to medium-sized business users. Most US telcos are promoting DSL as an alternative to cable modems. Working with PointCast -- the PointCast Network contains news and information from a wide variety of sources, such as CNN -- would bring much-needed content to the telcos' sales pitch. That's essentially what BT is doing with the UK edition of PointCast. While it isn't specifically typing PointCast to DSL-type services, it is using it to address numerous gaps in its content provision, specifically in business information sector. PointCast UK is heavily sponsored by BT and for the moment its advertising content promotes BT offerings exclusively. Of course, the snag is that PointCast's software may prove too much of a bandwidth hog for even DSL. Certainly, a number of companies, including Hewlett-Packard, who licensed PointCast technology to provide information over their corporate network, which clearly run rather faster than 1.5Mbps, found the software create too many data log-jams. ®

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