WorldGate Communications Inc. bolstered itsInternet-over-cable service coverage punch last week, adding five cable companies thatrepresent more than 350,000 basic cable customers.
Last week, Prestige Cable of Georgia, Cable Bahamas,Massilon Cable of Ohio, TVCable Ecuador, and Click! Network Tacoma Power (a municipaloverbuilder to Tele-Communications Inc. in Tacoma, Wash.,) gave WorldGate the nod for itsTV-based Internet service. All agreed to multiple year contracts, said Hal Krisbergh,chairman and CEO of WorldGate.
Krisbergh said the newly signed MSOs are "in variousstages of deployment," but will all be ready to commercially launch by next month."This is big news," he said.
WorldGate is aiming to provide cable viewers a fast andinexpensive way to access the Internet and e-mail without the need for a personalcomputer, set-top or telephone line. The company's system connects TVs to a standardanalog or digital cable converter, which in turn links to a headend-based server.
Michael Ingram, director of interactive services forPrestige Cable, said he plans to launch the WorldGate service in all four of the MSOsdivisions, or to 154,000 customers.
"While sitting in front of their family television,our subscribers can access the Internet and E-mail affordably. That's exciting," hesaid.
Meanwhile, Cable Bahamas and TVCable Ecuador areWorldGate's first international deals, Krisbergh said. As part of the Ecuadorarrangements, WorldGate will offer a Spanish language interface, a first for WorldGate.
Derek Caney, vice president of engineering for TVCableEquador, said in a statement that the MSO's early work with WorldGate proved it to be asturdy platform for further deployments.
"The system installation was a breeze, and it has beenfunctioning problem-free since day one," Caney said.