Intel launches streaming media business

Intel yesterday announced that is has formed a new business unit that will build a global network to offer streaming audio and video content over the Internet.

Intel Media Services will allow companies around the world to deliver content such as feature films, live concerts, radio broadcasts, financial briefings, and employee training, Mike Witteman, the unit's director of service technology, said in a phone interview.

Intel began delivering streaming audio and video content to selected customers in February, and plans to open a 70,000 square-foot broadcast operations center in Portland, Oregon by July. Another center will be constructed later this year in London.

The company will invest US$200 million in the network, to be built around digital broadcasting operations centers that will deploy Intel network technology.

Intel Media Services is part of the company's New Business Group, formed in mid-1998 to develop Internet-related services and products.

The network will be scalable to meet future demand, Witteman said. "More broadcast centres will be added in other regions of the world," he added.

Witteman said the network will be competitive, with similar services from Yahoo and Akamai Technologies. "We are going to offer customers a level of reliability and scalability they haven't been able to get yet," he said.

Intel has signed several customers for the network, including Comedy.com, an affiliate of the United Internet Artists, and the Nasdaq Stock Market's Web site, Nasdaq.com. It has also formed alliances with network providers such as Teleglobe Communications and the Williams Communications.

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