WorldGate Touts Astound-ing Contract


WorldGate Communications Inc. has landed a contract to provide interactive-TV
services to Astound Broadband cable systems starting in the first quarter of

Astound is the programming arm of Minneapolis-based overbuilder Seren
Innovations Inc., itself a subsidiary of Xcel Energy.

It has cable systems delivering voice, video and data products in Concord,
Calif., and St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Joseph and Waite Park,

About 60 percent of Astound's customers have the required digital set-top
boxes to view WorldGate's enhanced-TV content.

WorldGate will supply applications including Web surfing, local news, sports
and entertainment news, electronic mail and chat under the 'Astound iTV'

Its 'Channel HyperLinking' feature will also give viewers the ability to tap
interactive programs and advertisements.

'We researched and talked with a lot of companies, and we went with WorldGate
because they're the `gold standard' in interactive TV,' Astound president and
CEO Keith Wietecki said in a release.

'They have fully developed technology that's very compatible with our
network, and that technology has all the features our customers want,' he

The Astound deal brings WorldGate's deployment count to 65 cable systems in
14 countries.

In the United States, it has partnered with Adelphia Communications Corp.,
Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Cable Communications Inc. and Cox
Communications Inc. to create TVGateway, a system for interactive programming
and advertising on digital-cable systems.