Dutch ISP joins Excite in $5bn Net venture

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The Independent Online

Dutch-based high-speed Internet service provider chello broadband yesterday united with US peer Excite@Home to form a new Net venture spanning four continents which will be listed by early 2001.

Dutch-based high-speed Internet service provider chello broadband yesterday united with US peer Excite@Home to form a new Net venture spanning four continents which will be listed by early 2001.

Dubbed Excite Chello, the venture will fold chello into Excite's overseas operations to create the largest cable-based ISP outside the US, with more than 300,000 broadband subscribers in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America. George Bell, the chairman and chief executive of Excite@- Home, said Excite Chello was expected to secure 500,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

The venture, valued at around $5bn, has exclusive rights to offer its broadband Net services via TV cables to more than 30 million homes. And with the introduction of set-top boxes later this year, these Web services will be blended into TV broadcasts.

Roger Lynch, chief executive of Excite Chello, said the venture, to be jointly owned and run by Excite@Home and Dutch-based pan-European cable group UPC, had combined sales of $50m in the first quarter of this year, and was growing rapidly.

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