Grande, Liberate Team Up on ITV Apps

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San Antonio— Texas-based overbuilder Grande Communications will partner with Liberate Technologies Inc. for interactive services, which may include TV-based electronic mail by the third quarter.

Liberate Professional Services has already installed its software on the overbuilder's platform. Grande will offer its customers Source Media's interactive program guide, which will also provide subscribers with drill-down menus for local weather forecasts and entertainment listings.

The Liberate platform will help Grande market itself as a remedy to the "digital divide," CEO Bill Morrow said.

"A $30 keyboard will get a user on the Internet. They don't need a $1,000 computer," he said.

That could be a strong sales pitch in a market like San Antonio, where computers are reportedly in just 40 percent of households.

Grande has franchises in 25 Texas cities from Austin to San Antonio, which allow it to construct a network that will pass 1.6 million homes. Unlike other overbuilders, Grande will earn much of its revenue from wholesale traffic over 80 percent of its network.

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