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Following a trial launched last October, MSNBC has inked a deal with Net Insight's domestic partner, Qmedia, to access capacity on a bi-directional back-haul video network that links the programmer's presence in Washington, D.C. and New York.

MSNBC will use the network to feed video of press conferences and briefings from the White House as well as news programs such as "Hardball" and "Dateline."

MSNBC marks the first U.S.-based programmer to tap Net Insight's optical switches, which employ the company's DTM (dynamic synchronous transfer) transport technology to deliver up to 270 Mbps of uncompressed data.

The programmer uses that equipment in conjunction with Qmedia's commercial video transport service, operated over a media network that is expected to eventually connect several "major" U.S. cities. Qmedia operates the network and buys the optical switches directly from Net Insight.

"It's a new type of transport," said Net Insight Vice President of Marketing John Kostak, estimating that programmers like MSNBC can save as much as 45 percent versus traditional transport methods such as ATM (asynchronous transfer mode). Using a fiber optic network as opposed to satellite or ATM "gives more bang for the buck," Kostak added.

In addition to cable programmers, Net Insight is also targeting post-production houses and other types of content delivery networks. "We believe that DTM is...designed specifically for the professional media industry," Kostak said, noting that Net Insight's position in the transport sector falls somewhere between companies such as Akamai and Cisco Systems, which traditionally follow the enterprise market.

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