Alcatel, Oracle Team on DSL-Based ITV

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Hoping to tackle a broadband realm dominated by satellite and cable broadband providers, telecommunications-equipment vendor Alcatel Alsthom and Internet software giant Oracle Corp. will meld minds, technologies and bank accounts to back Thirdspace Living Ltd., an independent interactive-TV company that plans to target some 300 million households worldwide.

Alcatel and Oracle did not disclose how much cash they will give the budding ITV venture, which will offer a suite of applications and services ranging from digital broadcast television, high-speed data, electronic commerce and movies-on-demand using existing, copper-based digital subscriber lines.

Thirdspace, which has usurped executives from tech-savvy companies such as Sony Corp. and Apple Computer Inc., plans to power its ITV service by partnering with incumbent telephone providers and leveraging a spate of patented technology from Oracle and Alcatel.

In addition to funding Thirdspace, Alcatel and Oracle will also furnish resources from their respective ITV departments and an undisclosed number of employees to jump-start the start-up.

Thirdspace will "help the world's telephone companies move into ITV with more impact," Alcatel executive vice president Pierce Flynn said in a prepared statement.

Thirdspace CEO Brian Keating added, "The stage is set for the broadband wars and the battle is on to build the most ubiquitous, most capable ITV platform."

In related news, Oracle said it would transfer its ITV division to streaming media and video-on-demand vendor nCUBE Corp. and Thirdspace in exchange for minority equity stakes in each company.

Under terms of the deal, nCUBE and Thirdspace will jointly own Oracle's ITV intellectual property, which includes its core "Oracle Video Server" technology.

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