Pipex, the company that provides the lines for many Internet service providers, has agreed with Mercury to provide over 80 per cent of the UK population with local dial-up access to the Net.
The system will combine physical dial-up points with "virtual" ones - that is, it will be possible to dial a local number to get through to the Internet, even if you are in reality being routed to a computer miles away. Subscribers to Pipex resellers, as well as to the direct Pipex Dial service, will be able to connect locally from 170 STD areas.
All the points of presence (PoP) are equipped with the latest fast modems. If the local PoP is out of action, calls will be rerouted to another point without increasing the call charge. Details of the numbers will shortly be available on the World Wide Web at http://worldserver.pip ex.com/.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has joined up with the US telecom company MCI in a deal that could theoretically form the basis of the world's first multimedia empire. Murdoch owns "software" such as the Twentieth Century Fox film library and the MASH TV series, while MCI has a broadband network that can carry them across the country. What it does not have is a broadband link direct to people's homes. If the combo can make residential links, by satellite, cable or wireless technology, the empire will have arrived. Until then, nothing much will change. Murdoch himself says a true information superhighway is 15 to 20 years away in Europe - 50 in the rest of the world.
Web gets FA Cup
More new Internet sites. The Press Association is providing an FA Cup service, with data, photographs and audio commentary supplied by Radio Five Live. It is on the World Wide Web at http://www.padd.press.net. And the Woodcraft Folk, the leftish, bucolic youth organisation, now has a page at http://www.poptel.org.uk/ woodcraft/. If you want to see what the Folk get up to at their giant New Forest get-together in August, you can visit the first ever Virtual Camp at the Web site.
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