France Telecom has linked up with French technology company Com1 to promote Internet access through TV sets.
France Telecom plans to market its online service ?Wanadoo? with Com1?s SurfTV, a digital decoder that allows users to surf the Internet on their TV. Surfnet will be the first decoder of its kind for sale in France, when it hits the shelves in October.
France Telcom is hoping the deal will drive demand for its service, Wanadoo, and fight off competition from arch-rival phone company Cegetel, which linked up with Pay TV operator Canal Plus to buy control of AOL France earlier this year.
Analysts are forecasting that the Internet market in France will explode over the next 12 months, primarily fuelled by falling PC prices. It is estimated there will be 1.3 million internet subscribers in France by the end of this year, up from 500,000 last year.
Surfnet owners will receive a France Telecom card with the unit. To subscribe to Wanadoo they will simply have to slip it into a slot on the unit and follow the directions.
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