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New service for old boxes

Sun, 11/05/2000 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

AT&T Broadband and WorldGate have concocted an interactive TV experience for cable customers in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, Iowa and Tacoma, Wash. The new services will include e-mail, interactive video content and e-commerce applications and will not require any in-home installs or disruption to service.

"By working with WorldGate to offer enhancements to our video product…we will give our customers convenient access to interactivity through a medium they are already comfortable with - the television, " said CEO Dan Somers in a statement.

And in something out of Star Wars fiction, AT&T's HITS (Headend in the Sky) launched pod 13, a transponder with three new African-American networks, Great American Country, and ComedyNet. The pod has room for 12 networks and officials say they should be adding more to the new transponder.

In other AT&T news, the long-distance arm of the company is the subject of a Federal probe, investigating whether the company practiced "slamming," the scheme some companies use to gain new customers by switching their long-distance service without their permission.

AT&T officials are said to be cooperating with the FCC, but are privately threatening to fight the agency rather than pay multimillion-dollar fines, as rivals Qwest and the owner of long-distance carrier MCI did earlier this year.

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