Media and entertainment group Granada has announced it will invest £30 million in the next three years to establish an array of online businesses.
Granada will establish a free ISP service with access to entertainment based content, including the chance to chat online with characters from soap opera series such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Startup CD-Roms will be distributed through Granada's 5,000 rental outlets, hotels, service stations and restaurants in the UK.
The company also plans to set up an online education service offering pay as you use services to students of all levels, based on Granada Learning's bank of 850 educational titles.
Granada will also establish an electronic storefront which customers can use to make hotel bookings and purchase products, including videos, CDs and CD-Roms.
Granada media group chief executive Steve Morrison said the move online was, "a natural and exciting development of Granada's media strengths." Meanwhile, later this week the BBC is expected to announce a deal with Scottish Telecom to offer free ISP services based on its Beeb online brand, called Freebeeb.net.
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