Broadcasters Plan High-Speed Wireless Network

SAN FRANCISCO (03/08/2000) - A group of major broadcasters in the U.S. has formed a national network to deliver wireless, high-speed digital content to PCs.

Called iBlast Networks, the group will use a dedicated portion of the digital spectrum assigned to television stations to broadcast digital content such music, video, games, software and more, the companies said in a statement released Tuesday.

Starting early next year, the network will offer content that can be downloaded for a charge onto PCs equipped with an antenna and related equipment, the group said.

Major investors and partners in iBlast include The Tribune Co., The E.W.

Scripps Co., Meredith Corp., The New York Times Co. and the Washington Post Co.

The group said it has agreements with 143 local television stations in 102 markets, covering more than 80 percent of U.S. homes and all of the country's top 25 media markets.

The network is preparing to launch the "datacasting" service at a time when demand is growing for downloadable software, music, videos and information, iBlast said in the statement. The launch also comes as television stations move away from analog signals to digital signals, a transition that the U.S. government has said must be completed by 2006.

One analyst said the network is capitalizing on the growing demand for data content by making use of spectrum allocated for digital broadcasts.

"They are trying to look for value-added services in addition to digital television." Patti Reali, an analyst with the San Jose-research firm Dataquest Inc., said.

In Los Angeles, iBlast can be reached at

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