Volume 1, Issue 06 - Increase in Access Speeds and Appliances 1999 trend #05: Dramatic increase in access speeds and appliances (mobile devices, ATMs, home/office appliances, etc.) connecting to the Web and integrated into EC applications

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Subject: 1.06: Increase in Internet Access Speeds and Appliances

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June 30, 1999 *Over 1,750 subscribers* Volume 1, No. 06



Theme: Increase in Internet Access Speeds and Appliances trend #05: Dramatic increase in access speeds and appliances (mobile devices, ATMs, home/office appliances, etc.) connecting to the Web and integrated into EC applications

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Subject: 1.06: Increase in Internet Access Speeds and Appliances

At mid-year, my #5 trend prediction for 1999 is on target, namely that there would be a "Dramatic increase in access speeds and appliances (mobile devices, ATMs, home/office appliances, etc.) connecting to the Web and integrated into Electronic Commerce (EC) applications". Although increased access speed is being delivered, there is currently a fragmented, non-standardized set of delivery mechanisms. Time and existing infrastructure will tell who will win.

If you’ve been reading this eZine regularly you probably agree that the Internet is the future! The results of the recent CommerceNet/Nielson study stating that 92 million North Americans are using the Internet and that 55 million have shopped online shows that the Internet in the US is more than just catching on. The general world populous does not agree (yet) that the Internet is the future. A primary reason is that they lack a compelling reason to come on and stay online. Also, high on the chart is the lack of fast access speeds. Increased access speeds, bandwidth, and appliances attached to the Internet will be the boost many of these nay-sayers may need.

It was a mere 12-18 months ago that the media reported the eventual death of the Internet due to slow access speed and congested bandwidth. Today, a number of emerging technologies are addressing this call to action via the following:

  1. Using a land-based phone infrastructure (DSL camp)
  2. Using a land-based cable infrastructure (cable modem camp)
  3. Using above-ground infrastructures (satellite/wireless camp)

Which technology camp will win in a given country depends on the existing telecommunications infrastructure in the country and the speed of deployment. It’s "The Great Race" to see which technology and what firm(s) will win.

In parts of the world where there is a strong land-based infrastructure such as phone and/or cable, it will be harder for the satellite camp to penetrate. Based on user penetration in the U.S., it appears that the DSL and cable modem camps are the current leaders. In parts of the world without a strong land-based infrastructure the satellite camp may come out on top (pun intended). Vince Cerf, the father of the Internet and currently Sr. VP of Internet Architecture and Technology for MCI Worldcom agrees. "In the rest of the world (outside the US) where cell phone usage is dominant, wireless technology will play a major role in higher Internet access speeds."

Cerf is quick to point out that these are not necessarily competing technologies. "There are physical and technological reasons to have two or more of these technologies deplored at one location. The least of which is the mobility that comes along with wireless connectivity." Cerf predicts a heavy usage of Internet appliances and feels the Internet is perfect for one-way multi-casting leading to URL-based International radio. If you’re curious about what he’s dreaming up now, Cerf is currently building an interplanetary Internet and expects to have satellites deployed and operational around Mars for connectivity in 2,008.

Investments in the high-speed interconnectivity market are impressive. In June alone, AOL committed $1.5B (US) to DirecTV in exchange for its proprietary software being the software of choice for DirecTV users accessing the Internet. MCI and Paul Allen's Vulcan Venture’s each committed $300M (US) to push the deployment of Metricom’s wireless network from five to 46 U.S. cities. Sprint announced that they've spent over $1B (US) on both high-speed DSL telephone lines and "wireless cable" technology over the last couple months. Already billions of dollars have been spent on deploying satellites for global interconnectivity.

Quicker access speeds will allow for richer applications and more functionality; two compelling reasons to use the Internet. Another driver includes Internet-enabled appliances, such as refrigerators, coffee makers, toasters, personal data assistants, vending machines, printers, copiers, etc. On the business side, Coca Cola is placing vending machines on the Internet so that the distributor knows when to efficiently go out to replace inventory or service the machine. When a large share of vending machines are online, this information could be used as input to ensure a more efficient production cycle. Similarly, Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and others are monitoring printers online as a way to signal service cycles.

By extending their online reach to the field customer, these service-oriented companies are creating a "living, breathing organism" that can react to signals sent from the field. Response time and customer service capabilities will increase dramatically in such an environment.

On the consumer side, there are a number items I’d like to see hooked up to the Internet:

Finally, take a look at what our readers have to say about appliances hooked up to the Internet. Some great ideas are just around the corner. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from one of our readers "Being able to control the universe from our lounge chair is the way things are going, so get ready to sit back and enjoy the ride".

I hope you enjoy this newsletter.

See you in cyberspace,

Mitchell Levy

President, <>
Publisher, <>




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AT&T hails the "broadband millennium"
Once a small coterie of family-owned businesses that focused mainly on offering television programming, the cable industry is now focusing on delivering interactive TV services as well as broadband Internet and telephony to some 67 million homes that are passed by cable pipes.

Sprint Touts High-Speed Network
One year ago this month, Sprint announced ION, an aggressive plan to build a new high-speed data network from scratch. Today, aiming to get a jump on AT&T 's promised high-speed cable service, Sprint announced that it was ready to introduce ION's first consumer offerings. But is Sprint getting ahead of itself?

Web App Demos -- PlaceWare upgrade lets companies show customers software 
PlaceWare Inc. is trying to make it easier to demonstrate software over the Internet. Last week, the company rolled out a new version of its Internet Conference Center software and an accompanying service.

Clearing the Clutter for Cable Modem Services
The Cuda 12000 from BAS lets cable operators offer and manage multiple services from a single device.Substitute a single box for several? Cable modem service providers would leap at the chance. After all, it would free them from having to manage a variety of devices-and save them space and money in the process.

Telstra Shows Progress On Asia Cable Plans
This spring, Australian telephone company Telstra said it would spearhead a new international submarine cable project between Australia and Japan to meet the country's growing demand for Internet access. Several months later, the important project is moving ahead, according to Telstra officials, but the market in Asia remains a little hesitant after the region's financial difficulties.

EU: Telcos Must Spin Off Cable Nets
The European Commission today approved rules which will require former monopoly telecommunications operators to legally separate their cable operations from their traditional phone services, a move that the commission hopes will ensure greater market access for competitors.

Wiring Hotel Rooms
Some of the nation's biggest lodging chains have begun offering guests high-speed Internet access. Last November, when Starwood Hotels and Resorts launched the W New York, the flagship of its new W hotel group, it celebrated with a lavish cocktail party that attracted luminaries from Hollywood, the recording industry and the Internet world. As expected, the invitees gushed over Aveda toiletries in the sleek rooms and healthy-chic fare at the hotel's restaurant, Heartbeat, the latest creation of Manhattan wunderchef Drew Nieporent. But W's most innovative feature lay hidden - coiled underneath the floorboards.

Lucent Adopts Open-Systems Approach To Boost Broadband Networks
In what is a remarkable departure from how Lucent Technologies Inc. previously has done business, the company last week unveiled its first ISV program along with plans to boost broadband networking by opening up platforms for servers.

NorthPoint Keeps It Simple
Competitive Local Exchange Carrier Focuses On Needs Of Small And Midsize Businesses Now that I work from home more frequently, one frustration has been the inability to retrieve data as quickly from home as from my office. At first, I was limited by modem speeds. But with higher-speed and broader-bandwidth alternatives.

Supercomm showcases move to voice over DSL
The lure of new revenue opportu-nities for voice services in data networks propelled voice over digital subscriber line (VoDSL) gateway technologies to center stage at the recent Supercomm show in Atlanta.

Remote Access Gear Comes To G.lite
G.lite's day has arrived.

Microsoft's Telecom Plans
During his speech at the Supercomm '99 telecommunications trade show, Microsoft President Steve Ballmer said Tuesday that the company isn't out to take over the telecommunications equipment and services businesses by itself but wants partners in those areas. Think he had the Justice Department in mind while writing that one?.

Music Industry Laments Loss
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the recorded music industry was cheated out of up to $10 billion in lost sales in 1998. While legitimate sales rose 3 percent worldwide to $38.7 billion last year, the group estimates sales of illegal recordings at about $4.5 billion.

Vendors Boost DSL Accessibility And Cost
Several new products are expected to make DSL service more accessible and boost it as a cost-competitive alternative to T1 and frame relay.

High-Tech Execs Coming To Washington En Masse
Leading software company CEOs, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, will ride into Washington Monday to press flesh with lawmakers and participate in a congressional high-tech summit.

RosettaNet Sets Launch Date
RosettaNet, the massive PC industry effort to standardize electronic-business processes, formally moved into its pilotstage yesterday. The group, which comprises all the major PC industry players, said that 30 companies have committed to use the RosettaNet standards by Feb. 2, 2000, a day the group called eConcert Readiness Day.



NOTE: In place of the feature article this month, we’ve included a slightly expanded reader comments section below.

Comments from our readers:

PLEASE NOTE: Our bulletin board ( allows you to comment on trends, and other issues, throughout the month. Please stop by and add your comments or send e-mail to

Yes, I see pressure mounting to increase access speeds. I also see the technology moving fast and prices going down (DSL from Pac-bell [US California-based Baby Bell] is now about $30/month, for example.) I see a lot of nasty problems along the way, as well as a regional bias (believe me, Silicon Valley is way ahead of most places and will continue to be.) Businesses worldwide will push hard for changes, however, as business-to-business needs are paramount to expanded economic opportunities in outlying areas of the U.S. AND foreign countries.

With faster access times (greater bandwidths) applications will change. I see potential for expanded use of multi-media such as:

  1. Much better quality video usage (including web-casting, movies, and more)
  2. Much better image quality (3D animation) on web site not only for web-centric designs but also for image rendering, virtual environments, geographical mapping applications, and more.)

I also see better access to multiple databases and complex search mechanisms allowing for faster data access and pull-down for transactions of all kinds.

My vision of the future is that MOST if not ALL business will be done on the internet/web in the next few years. We see a strong movement with Windows 2000 allowing all documents to become html-ready, for example. Improving access speeds will be one part of the ultimate goal of making the business world web-centric.

In the interim, expectations may become unrealistic and people may be a bit disappointed along the way. This is the downside.

I currently have an ISP Channel cable modem at my home that works faster than my LAN at work.

The impact is amazing. I get things done faster and my kids are now glued to the computer. The big pipe has made the PC a much more useful tool. I estimate 'we,' the kids and I, hit 6 to 8 times more sites (in the same time frame) by virtue of simply having faster access.

As a result our 'customer satisfaction' with the web has gone way. The most interesting thing is that most of the expensive hardware currently on my desktop is not required to do 99% of what we currently do on a PC. I think the Web saved the PC but will be its ultimate undoing. Thin Clients and mobile computing will be the undoing of the Microsoft hairball.

I also have a Palm Plot that I rely on for little personal scheduling items. As soon as I can get it hooked up reliably to a fast, inexpensive cellular e-mail system I will require even less of my laptop.

I believe that increase in access speed is one of the key factors that will enable B2B and B2C e-Commerce to ramp up. Cultural barriers are still strong, specifically in Europe, but once the Internet becomes a commodity, access speed will be the only big bottleneck. Personally, in Europe, I see B2C e-commerce increasing in the short term over wireless applications.

Both B2C and B2B e-commerce adoption will depend on the availability and cost of bandwidth. In addition, B2B will depend on the creation of an internationally recognized standard / multivendor solutions.

When all of this technology goes wireless via satellite speed will not be an issue.

All I know is that I hate modems. We have an ISDN at work, even that's slow, but it's better than my home PC so many times I'll stay late at work to get personal stuff done on the net. We live in a rural area and cannot get DSL or Internet cable.

The faster the transfer speeds become between objects-machines, appliances, etc, the more universal the programming will become. We will be able to get our stock quotes at the same time as watching our kids via webcam and turning the lights out in our homes while we are at work.

Remote control is it, baby. For lack of a better metaphor, the closer we can bring people to being a brain in a jar the more efficient we will be. Being able to control the universe from our lounge chair is the way things are going, so get ready to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The next question should be: Why drive? with Global tracking, integrated mapping sensors on cars and speed control, why do we have to drive, why don't we let the car do it remotely while we sit back and read the paper?

As we evolve I would predict the following:

  1. Access speeds will increase well beyond the Ghz range
  2. Appliances will have integrated capability that will allow remote monitoring and control enabling us to control and monitor our every day appliances remotely and to systematically program their events
  3. The fight for standards will become even more important but I expect that it will take much effort and several years for this to shake out once a true standard is in place we will be able to see real progress, and some outstanding innovations come to market. This will revolutionize the way we work, and live. WOW! I will be able to shop from my recliner and visually see the merchandise without ever leaving home. OH and yes, I do expect to have two-way communication at that point.
  4. Programming will need to evolve and have the capability to learn as it evolves. It will need to be more universal and simpler to use.

If access speeds increase will humans actually gain additional time for "themselves" or will it be spent programming, monitoring, and upgrading additional "automated" devices that become imbedded in our day to day lives? This applies to both business and "home."

One can only automate a toaster so far - I guess the bread would have to be "pre-loaded" in a stay-fresh area and you would have to want toast when you had programmed it to be done, even if the programming was done a week earlier.

Here is what I think will happen... with the increased access of e-mail and wireless connectivity, especially via the hand held computers, I believe we will see a tremendous change in the way people will access information. I have owned a PDA for 4 years now and I have seen demos of the Palm VII and I can only start dreaming about all the wonderful access of information that we suddenly will have right at our fingertips. We can get immediate updates on flight schedules, specials in stores, driving directions when we get lost.... Ask a friend a question and get an answer back almost immediately, order food to go...while we are on the go... order movie tickets while we are on the way to the movie theater...etc, etc... This is going to be HUGE... I think bigger than people actually think...

I expect that bandwidth will cease to be a limitation within 5 years. Our limitations will be the machines (PC's, appliances) that we use to interpret the rich multi-media content. Personal F2F (face to face) meetings via videophone will be as common as cell phones. Organization of information will improve, especially around the home. The use of bar code and ISBN's will enable us to at least catalogue all the "stuff" we accumulate. Agents or "bots" will monitor our habits and act as our purchasing departments, finding us the best possible product at the lowest total cost.

On access speeds the bandwidth that we know today, while growing at a considerable rate, will grow exponentially within the next five years. This increase in bandwidth will serve to automate our lives even more. Virtual cash will be the standard, we will significantly reduce the amount of printed material used for storage, and the flow of global information will be real time. There will be a convergence of network and telecommunications services in both the home and the business world with speeds 100 times what they are today. All electrical appliances for the household will be controlled from a centralized unit in the home.

My guess is that over the next 12 - 18 months, we'll see a substantial increase in speed for U.S. users. This will hopefully result in better and more dynamic user interfaces to make the web more accessible. Look for more integration of voice and video.

Outside the U.S., I'd say things will still be at nearly the same speeds for another year.

Access speeds between the home and the Net will obviously increase. The important thing is that these speeds will not increase as quickly as the processing power and capabilities of the devices that they feed (i.e. Moore's law does not apply to the network bottleneck between the home and the Net). This is due to the fact that the local telephone and cable markets are not nearly as open and competitive as the consumer electronics market.

This disparity between the relative rates of increase in processing power and capabilities on one hand and network bandwidth on the other will give rise to a whole family of products and services designed around maximizing the limited bandwidth coming into the home. The recent introduction of hard-disk based television recorders are an example of this. Rather than dynamically downloading content (once thought to be the way to go, but largely impractical due to limited network bandwidth) these devices cache the incoming television signal onto (relatively cheap) hard disks for later playback. Browsers and other content viewing applications will be programmed to download content during off-peak hours for later viewing (actually they can already do this, but these features should become more prominent and flexible). This return to the "push" model will only apply to data-rich content however. Normal 2D graphics and the like will benefit from the increases in the to-the-curb bandwidth that do occur.

Any applications on the web are mainly geared for convenience, thus speed should play an important role. With the increase availability of digital cable connection and satellite, I suspect that more users will start using the appliances connecting to the web more often.

I believe that average access speeds will continue to increase as both corporate and home users implement new communications technologies. The rate of adoption of new technologies will, of course, be greatly influenced by manufacturers' and service providers' ability to make them cost effective. With faster communications speeds come expectations of faster web performance, so it will be incumbent on service providers and web hosts to ensure they have the infrastructure to support these expectations. Companies must also be increasingly conscious of the performance issues inherent in their web site designs and architectures.

I expect "Internet appliances" to continue to become more prevalent, but they will most likely gain acceptance slowly. As with most technology products, I expect they will initially attract the "early adopter" technophiles who use them as an adjunct to their existing computers. The idea of neophyte users purchasing an appliance INSTEAD of a computer for web use, I believe, will not develop quickly, if at all. Growth of the market for these appliances will have an impact on those with web sites because, at least at this point in time, many have small, monochrome screens, and many cannot support "multimedia." However, since most of these devices will be used primarily for email and access to specific types of information (news, weather, etc.) and not as a SUBSTITUTE for a regular web browser for larger functions, the impact will probably not be significant for most sites. I would not expect appliances to have any impact on business-to-business e-commerce sites.

As most of the appliances in future will be 'intelligent' so to speak, most will have communication built-in. As a result, the usage of the net in PC terms will be overshadowed by palm-tops, kitchen-tops, what have you in future...

Access availability and speed will be crucial. Most gadgets will be given away with access for free while a user is charged for access OR the user will buy a gadget with access tied in. Depends on the economics of access and /or gadgets. Literally millions of Internet connections will have to be active for such a society and therefore access requirement will be vast. Imagine today's phone system and extrapolate it a million times over you have the future of the net.

I hope I am around to see it.

Calcutta, India

I suspect that access speeds will increase while the cost for that speed will decrease. I suspect that devices will become multi use and we will see these advantages in homes at affordable prices in the next 5 years.

The vast majority of users [ 99 % ] will still have regular [ 56K , POTS , PC ] Internet access. So an increase in mobile devices, broadband offerings from 0% to 1% market share is trivial and will have very little effect on the EC applications used other than to grab headlines.

Increasing access speeds will help get EC on the Web up to critical mass. New appliances will have relatively little effect on b-to-b EC, and since that's where the action is, they will have relatively little overall impact. They'll probably accelerate consumer EC.

Access speeds, hmmmmm, they are going nowhere quickly. Sure, the technology is there but nobody can afford it. The antiquated analog lines are here for quite a while and if producers of these new services expect that people are not only going to spend their hard earned money on these new toys (the appliances) but also on new access mediums, they need to have their proverbial heads examined.

Appliances, I'm for them as long as the manufacturers think about security in a home and all of the information that can be gleaned from probing a home network. I think that you should be able to order groceries from your kitchen, that's a cool idea, it has practical uses.




Excite@Home Rethinks Dial-up
The newly renamed Excite@Home's best current growth opportunity, believe it or not, may not be broadband. As most Net users still plod along online using a dial-up account, some say the company should grab a piece of the narrowband pie, then coax customers to make the high-speed switch.

Brentwood's Bandwidth Bard
For every great Web site, there are thousands of people restlessly drumming their fingers on their desks as they wait for pages to downoad. That's why the coming era of greater bandwidth.

Global Telcos Aim to Bring Fiber to Home
Fiber-optic networks are well established as a secure and reliable medium for long-range business connections, and today four telecommunications companies announced a specification aimed at bringing their benefits to home users as well.  BellSouth, British Telecommunications, France Telecom and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone have agreed on a common specification for high-capacity optical network-access systems, which they hope will deliver optical networking to both home and business environments at minimized cost.

Sprint's Charged Offer
 It's been at least two weeks since you last uttered the phrase "turnkey solution." Well dust it off, because Sprint will roll out its Ion service to the consumer world next week. Already serving business customers, Ion offers phone and high-speed Internet services in one tidy package.

GTE, AOL Test Open Access
GTE Corp. and America Online are saying that tests on a GTE cable system proved that such systems can be operated on an "open access" basis. Open access would allow customers to select from an Internet service providers of their choice rather than being forced to sign on with network's exclusive provider--as is believed to be the case with AT&T's cable systems.

FCC to Ensure Rural Net Access
The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday it plans to call a "CEO summit" of tech executives to explain what they are doing to make sure rural America is not left out of their plans for offering high-speed Internet access to customers.

Viva Portland?
It's AT&T's worst nightmare. After the telco invested billions in cable networks as a way to pipe its broadband services into the home, a city-by-city movement to demand competition on those networks is gaining steam.

Should We Have State ISPs?
If Virginia's state government starts selling discounted high-speed Internet access to the private sector, the state will upset several small ISPs. Virginia already offers such services to state agencies and schools, but a recent proposal suggests that it may move to compete with ISPs in the private sector, too.

Cities March Noisily Into Net-Access Battle
City councils throughout the country could be casting a wary eye westward, certain their time will come.

ISP Calls at Issue in California
This week the California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on two items which will decide whether local phone calls to ISPs should be treated and charged as local calls or as long-distance calls. Local phone companies want the state regulators to decide that they should be compensated due to the many phone calls to ISPs that are taxing their networks. Such a decision could lead to higher-priced Internet access in California.

Frustrated in Fremont
Frustrated cable customers in Fremont, Calif., are hoping their hometown will become the first place in the country to hold an Internet access system to a strict set of customer service standards. The Fremont City Council has established a task force to consider what type of customer service requirements should be applied to AT&T's broadband Internet via cable offering.

Yahoo via PCS
Yahoo and Sprint PCS said Wednesday have signed a deal that will deliver Yahoo's Web content and services to Sprint PCS mobile phones. The co-branded services planned include e-mail, address book and calendar access and financial, sports and weather-related news.

Interactive Music Television
ACTV Inc and TCI Music Inc said Thursday they will integrate ACTV's HyperTV software solution with TCI's Box Music Network. That will allow those watching the 24-hour programmable music channel to log onto a Web site that corresponds with what they're viewing on TV.

Microsoft's Handheld Weapon: Music
Forget the recent noise about digital music on the PC. The real battle of the bands will be playing on the next generation of handheld devices. Portable music is already going digital with the MP3 craze. Handhelds, PDAs or PIMs - whatever you call them - are logical portable music players. Qualcomm and 3Com are building a cell phone combined with a PalmPilot. Why not unite a PDA and an MP3 player? So far, only Microsoft has an answer. Of the three main handheld operating systems, only Windows CE can play music. The runaway worldwide leader, 3Com's PalmOS, can't do it, nor can Symbian's EPOC, an operating system popular in European PDAs.

Cable's God-given Pipe
Just as cable is looking at an alternate revenue source in Internet access (which, by the way, fires up cable moguls more than the Romance Channel), AOL and GTE are trying to prove they can jerry-rig cable networks easily for access by alternate ISPs.

Download Music at made a push into delivering music via the Internet Tuesday by launching its music download site. The new site offers free songs for download from musicians including Lyle Lovett and Sarah McLachlan..

Europeans Stage Net Boycott
Internet users in 15 European countries staged a 24-hour boycott of the World Wide Web over the weekend as part of a campaign seeking to reduce telephone costs associated with Web access.

MediaOne to Sell Cable Modems in Stores
Over the weekend MediaOne will start selling 3Com cable modems in Circuit City stores in Richmond, Va., in conjunction with the rollout of the Road Runner high-speed Net-over-cable service. The modems are being touted as the first offering compliant with the research group CableLabs' Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.

Bed-and-Breakfasts Get Bandwidth
With thousands of mom-and-pop proprietors operating in thousands of locations, bed-and-breakfasts and other vacation properties have been slow to move to the Internet.

Egghead's Net Bet Pays Dividends
Two years ago, Egghead Inc. closed its chain of more than 160 software retail stores and staked its future on electronic commerce. Since the changeover to the Internet, Egghead's inventory costs have dropped from about $100 million for its stores to $14 million.

Compaq's New Web-Ready PCs
Compaq unveiled its new consumer desktop and notebook computers Tuesday. The machines come complete with monitors, printers and new Internet services--including Compaq's own branded service starting at $11.99..

FEC Allows Matching Net Funds
The Federal Election Commission Thursday gave a big thumbs-up to political fund-raising via the Internet, ruling unanimously that presidential candidates can qualify for federal matching funds for the donations they gather online.

Study to Show Net's Effect on Society
Researchers at UCLA's Center for Communication Policy announced Tuesday the beginning of a worldwide study that they hope will explain how computers and the Internet have changed society. The study initially will examine households in the United States, Singapore and Italy and eventually will expand to about 25 countries.



Consortium to promote HDSL-2
Hoping to propel a new DSL technology into the business arena, eight chip makers and OEMs have formed a consortium for the HDSL-2 (high-bit-rate DSL-2) standard.

Metromedia to Acquire AboveNet
Fiber-optic infrastructure provider Metromedia Fiber has agreed to acquire AboveNet Communications a supplier of managed Internet services, in a stock swap worth about $1.55 billion.

Telecom Groups Form 3G.IP
Ericsson said Thursday it was forming a focus group with eight other telecom companies to develop an Internet Protocol-based wireless system for third generation devices. The focus group, called 3G.IP, will include AT& BT Rogers Cantel, Lucent Technologies, Nortel, Telenor and Telecom Italia Mobile..

Trend-setting Deal for AT&T, NBC
AT&T Corp.and the NBC television network announced Thursday a broad agreement to distribute NBC broadcast, cable and other digital services over AT&T's cable network. The deal is being heralded as a first in the trend toward carrying digital TV signals via cable and telephone networks vs. traditional analog broadcasting over the airwaves..

Yahoo To Buy Online Anywhere
Yahoo announced two deals Wednesday designed to move it onto other platforms, including cellular phones and handheld devices. The Web portal will pay about $80 million in stock for Online Anywhere.

Cisco to Buy TransMedia
Cisco Systems has announced plans to acquire TransMedia Communications for about $400 million in stock. Year-old startup TransMedia makes technology that can connect multiple types of networks. The boards of both companies already have approved the deal, which is expected to close in Cisco's first quarter of fiscal 2000.

Amazon Increases Stake in announced Monday that it has raised $50 million from, Bowman Capital and Hummer Winblad in a second financing round. Amazon, after buying a nearly 50 percent stake in the pet supplier in March, now owns 54 percent of Buys Sotheby's Stake said Tuesday it is investing $45 million in Sotheby's Holding's Inc. and is creating a joint online auction service with the 255 year-old company.

AOL Invests in Hughes
AOL said it will invest $1.5 billion in Hughes Electronics, a firm that's building a satellite system to deliver high-speed Internet access. AOL, by way of this investment, is helping secure a home for its AOL TV product, an interactive service designed to compete with cable TV Internet offerings.

Think Merger
Interactive agency Think New Ideas, a Silicon Alley pioneer that was once a darling of Madison Avenue, has agreed to merge with technology backend specialists AnswerThink.

Ames Department Stores Outsources To IBM
Ames Department Stores Inc. has awarded a five-year, $112 million outsourcing contract to IBM Global Services for all data center operations, midrange systems at Ames' four distribution centers.

IBM Acquires Maker Of Thin Servers
IBM acquired Whistle Communications Inc. today in an effort to increase its E-business presence in the small-business market, IBM officials say. IBM plans to combine Whistle's thin-server product line with its own service...

Oracle Buys Data Mining Technology From Thinking Machines
Oracle will continue to sell the Thinking Machines software, Darwin, as a separate product. But Oracle's long-term plans call for bundling the software with its customer- relationship management and E-business product suites, probably by the end of the year

Application-Integration Vendors Form Alliances
Two application-integration vendors, New Era of Networks Inc. and CrossWorlds Inc., formed separate alliances today to round out their integration portfolios.

PeopleSoft, Commerce One Team On Online Procurement
PeopleSoft Inc. is moving into the online procurement market this week, thanks to a partnership with Commerce One Inc. PeopleSoft says it has made an $8 million equity investment in Commerce One.



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