Broadband Internet company Chello is planning to launch its service in the UK this autumn.
Chello, an operating company of recently floated United Pan-Europe Communications, is currently in the final negotiations of a deal with a cable operator in the UK, according to a source and is on target for launch as early as September.
Chello uses the cable TV connection to provide consumers with high speed internet access and round the clock entertainment and news. Broadband enables consumers to use several applications via a single cable so a family could surf the Internet, watch television and make telephone calls all at the same time.
A TV style remote control enables consumers to access services and the Internet. Chello is charged out on a flat monthly subscription fee of around €40, which includes an email address and 10Mbyte of Web space. Chello admitted that it has plans underway for launching in the UK, but declined to give a timescale.
In Europe Chello runs across Aorta, a pan European broadband Internet infrastructure. Chello promises subscribers near CD quality sound, pin sharp pictures and a full range of global and local content in the language of the country it is offered in.
Chello had more than 35,650 subscribers in Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France and Norway at the end of the first quarter this year, showing a 34 per cent growth on last year's figure of 25,338 users. Chello currently has access to 4.8 million homes passed by the cable systems of UPC, of which 500,000 are currently upgraded ready to take the service, a figure which will rise to three million by the end of the year.
Chello has confirmed that Austrian cable company, Telesystem Tirol Kabelfernsehen GMBH & KG (Telesystem Tirol) and Belgian cable company Wolu-TV, will offer its fixed fee, broadband Internet service to their 80,000 and 20,000 subscribers respectively, from July 1, 1999.
Chello already has partnerships with United Telekabel Holding of the Netherlands, TVD-Radio Public in Belgium, the Norwegian Janco Multicom and Mediareseaux in France. Germany is thought to be next on the launch agenda.
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