BT has signed a multimillion pound deal with Netscape to provide the core technology for its free email address service, talk21, which comes as part of the new BT Click+ Internet access package.
BT has joined a list of more than 75 telecos and ISPs worldwide that are deploying hosted Internet and Intranet services based on Netscape?s server software.
?BT anticipates that 35 per cent of the UK population, equalling around 20 million people, will have email access by the year 2002,? Dusan Rnic, senior systems engineer at Netscape told 'VNU Newswire'. ?To target that need you have to have the infrastructure, which is where we come in with a scalable solution."
BT is the first UK telco to take up Netscape?s server solution and services. Rnic confirmed, however, that it is in negotiation with other UK ISPs and telcos, but said ?we haven?t any imminent announcements to make?.
France Telecom and Swisscom have already adopted Netscape?s technology. As part of the backbone for talk21 BT will be using Messaging Server 4.0 Hosting Edition, plus Netscape Delegated Adminstrator, directory based software that lets companies privately view and manage users and hosted groups.
It is thought that this forms part of BT?s monitoring system, designed to ensure that talk21 is not being abused for criminal activities.
John Swingewood, director of BT?s Internet and multimedia division, declined to discuss the security of its new services. ?We would not discuss how our security works, but it is safe to say that even though customers do not have to register we know exactly where they are dialling in from," he said.
BT will also run Netscape?s Messenger Express 4.0, a scalable Web based email solution that supports hosted roaming services as well as ?freemail? services such as talk21.
Netscape?s hosting solution has been designed to deliver value added service as the customer based expands, explained Rnic. ?One of the important services of the future will be electronic commerce,? he said.
BT has said it intends to give talk21 customers the ability to access their email from anywhere in the UK through multimedia payphones and interactive television as well as computers as the technology arrives.
BT, however, decided to launch BT Click+ with Microsoft?s Internet Explorer 4.0 browser. Swingewood said there was nothing to read into this. ?We will be offering Netscape?s browser as well, our service is all about choice?, he said.
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