Excite@Home launches broadband portal

Users will see a new browser, additional email accounts and up to 70MB in personal Web storage space

Most Americans still don't know quite what broadband means, but those who do think of high speed and video. Excite@Home, which plans to roll out its new broadband service to 1.15 million cable modem subscribers starting on 27 March, is promising to exploit those characteristics and more.

"I think broadband is about the combination of connectivity and content," said Joe Kraus, senior vice president of content at the company. "What consumers really want is the convenient packaging."

After keeping company-wide development efforts largely under wraps for months, the nation's leading high-speed cable Internet service provider (ISP) will offer @Home2000 to all its subscribers.

Other broadband companies may have unveiled similar elements, "but offering all these things together makes it unique," Kraus said.

This spring's offering will include:

  • A new browser focused on integrating content and client. Wherever they are on the Web, users will be able to see an email message flashing, or be able to hit a search button. With the always-on nature of broadband, utilities such as maps and movie times will be easy to grab, company officials said. Hundreds of options for personalising the service will be included.

  • More movement. Users can scroll over news headlines and see the photo and story change as they go, without clicking and waiting. They will have access to video clips from partners such as Bloomberg, CNN, Comedy Central and Fox.

  • More Internet service provider capability. The new service will boost household email accounts from three to seven, Web space from 15MB to 70MB and will allow computer connections -- from three to five. Excite@Home also said it will add more storage capacity for the expansion, but added that it won't need more bandwidth from the cable companies.

Advertising will change, too, by taking advantage of greater visual features made possible through the added capacity of broadband. The greater capacity of the cable pipe will make changing Web pages easier. "In the broadband environment, you can drag and drop to move things around the page," Kraus noted. "Most people don't think of that as broadband. But you can use it to download more intelligent code that allows you to drag and drop." All of Excite@Home's cable modem subscribers, who generally pay $40 (£24) per month, will be able to download the new browser and get the ISP services upgraded without added charges, Kraus said. And every new installation will get the service automatically.

Go to Rupert Goodwins 'Millennium technologies' Broadband roundup at AnchorDesk UK.

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