Plans by telcoms companies to charge ISPs "access fees" for using their networks to connect to the Internet have met with fierce opposition in the US. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Reed Hundt said the companies receive "ample reward" already and no further remuneration was necessary. In the UK some cable companies are looking at a similar move. But Larry Bloch, managing director of ISP NetBenefit, said: "I think the telcos are getting more than enough money for what they do already."
A Seattle judge has ruled in favour of Microsoft and against several US users who were claiming Windows 95 did not work as promised. A superior court judge said no class action suits were allowed either by individuals or groups over difficulties with the software. A New Yorker, Anthony Lefko, originally brought an action which claimed Microsoft had defrauded people by releasing the operating system before it had all the features promised.But the action may go further as his lawyers have the right of appeal.
Informix Software has won a contract to supply database software to BP/Mobil. The oil giant will implement the Informix standard engine and 4GL in key forecourt sites. Following their merger earlier this year, BP/Mobil has 9,000 retail sites, 1,200 of which already use Informix database software. A further 1,000 sites are due for deployment some time this year.
Packard Bell NEC is to include next generation 56Kbps high-speed modem technology in its forthcoming PC ranges following an agreement with US Robotics and Texas Instruments. The x2 modem technology has been developed by US Robotics and built into modem chipsets manufactured by Texas Instruments.The Packard Bell NEC brands offering the high-speed modem capabilities are expected to become available in the second quarter.
The government has awarded Microsoft and services firmEDS a joint pilot contract to enable self-employed people to register over the Internet.Under the pilot, which will run for 12 months, the self-employed will fill in electronic tax forms rather than paper ones, saving themselves time and the government money. For those without a PC, the service will eventually become available through public kiosks. David Svendsen, Microsoft's UK managing director, said: "Self-employed people will now be able to register their status quickly and easily, without using a pen or a post box. This initiative marks a sea change in public sector practice that should help shape perceptions of the government as highly customer-focused and efficient." The pilot is the first implementation of the government.direct technology initiative, launched late last year.
Allen died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
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