Broadband: Online Backup's Future?

SAN FRANCISCO (03/29/2000) - Web-based backup services offer peace of mind against a possible PC disaster. The services are widely available, but uploading all of your crucial files over a 56K-bps (bits-per-second) dial-up connection can be a laborious thumb-twiddling exercise. It's like filling your SUV's gas tank through a straw.

But it's a different story using broadband connections. Online backup and high-speed Internet access seem made for each other. In a nod to this reality, SkyDesk (formerly known as @Backup) has teamed with Excite@Home, a nationwide supplier of broadband service over cable modems, to offer SkyDesk's @Backup online backup to Excite@Home subscribers.

Backup costs extra for Excite@Home subscribers, although a 30-day free trial is available. After the trial period, 100MB of backup storage is available for $69 yearly, and 250MB costs US$144.95. That's a savings over the regular prices for an @Backup subscription, which costs $99.95 yearly for 100MB and $149.95 for 200MB. (A 250MB option isn't available to non-Excite@Home users.)Excite@Home currently offers Internet access through alliances with 16 cable companies in the United States and Canada, and claims its services are available to more than 60 million homes.

SkyDesk's @Backup isn't a new service, but its alliance with Excite@Home demonstrates a trend of major Internet service providers teaming with other services. Subscribers get the benefit of one-stop shopping for extra values.

And the movement is likely to continue. Trend Micro this week announced alliances with several international ISPs (Internet service providers) to offer virus-checking for files before they're sent to your PC.

@Backup is still available to any Internet user through SkyDesk's Web site. The service offers automatic backups, multiple-backup archiving, and Web-based data restoration. Files on the service's servers are encrypted and are themselves stored in multiple locations. And if your PC has a major crash, the service can also send you a CD-ROM with your data for $39.95 plus $6 shipping and handling.

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