Xbox Live to go online with BTopenworld

As part of the deal, BTopenworld will launch a 'home hub' to connect the Xbox console directly to a broadband-enabled phone line via its Ethernet port

BTopenworld has been chosen by Microsoft to provide ADSL-based broadband connectivity for Xbox Live, the company's online gaming service.

Xbox Live is Microsoft's online gaming service, which will let gamers compete with each other across the Internet -- as long as they have broadband. BTopenworld announced the deal on Tuesday.

BTopenworld will launch a "home hub", or home gateway, that will connect the Xbox console to a broadband-enabled phone line via its Ethernet port. This hub can also supply broadband connectivity to a PC.

In theory, an Xbox user with an existing home broadband account -- either with BTopenworld or another ISP -- could connect their console to their PC, but BTopenworld believes this is a more complicated option.

"The Xbox has an Ethernet connection, but the modems supplied by most ISPs are USB, so people would have to get an adaptor to link them together," Chris Jones of BTopenworld told ZDNet UK News. "Also, how likely is it that you want to have your Xbox and your PC in the same room anyway," he added.

According to reports, Telewest has agreed a deal with Microsoft that it will supply cable-based broadband to Xbox customers.

Although BTopenworld is the first ISP to agree an ADSL-based broadband deal, it appears that other ISPs will be able to sign similar arrangements with Microsoft. Despite this, BTopenworld insist that its deal is very significant.

"This is another reason to use broadband," explained Jones.

Xbox Live is due to launch in the US on 15 November. It will not go live in the UK until March 2003, but a 'soft launch' is expected to take place in late November.


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