Microsoft Corp. 's MSN division will soon release a beta version of the service that targets consumers with access to high-speed connections.
The broadband-centric service, to be called MSN Premium, will include better safety and security measures, Web pop-up protectors, enhanced e-mail storage and features that help customers share their digital photos and calendars. The premium service will also offer broadband content from ESPN and MSNBC.
MSN will begin beta testing next week with "thousands" of consumers, and expects to launch the premium service sometime this winter.
MSN's decision to harness broadband connections for richer content follows in the footsteps of ISP competitor America Online, which launched its 9.0 version earlier this summer.
Many of the capabilities in MSN Premium will be available to MSN Dial-up customers. Additional capabilities for dial-up customers also will be offered this winter when the new services become available. More information will be provided closer to availability.