@home Offers Dutch Broadband Internet Service

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AMSTERDAM - @Home Network, the Redwood City, CA, provider of Internet services via cable, last month launched broadband service in the Netherlands in the first phase of a Benelux push.

"It is completely tailored to the Dutch experience," said Nils Kijkuit, @Home's marketing and sales director. "It adds neat multimedia capability to the Internet, with TV-quality visuals and CD-quality audio."

The Dutch-language service will go after users who have been online for a year and are bored with offerings from Internet service providers, as well as early adapters and upwardly mobile first-time users.

The Netherlands has 1 million users online and nearly 30 percent of the estimated 700,000 businesses are connected to the Internet. About 130 ISPs serve the market.

"What we are trying to do is define a completely new category," said Kijkuit. "We are not a traditional ISP. I think @Home will definitely hurt traditional ISPs, who are faced on the one hand by free-access ISPs and on the other side by broadband services like ours."

The company stresses four key features to its service: no telephone charges, high-speed Internet access, compelling content and "always on," said Kijkuit.

At press time, @Home declined to name the advertisers, sponsors or associates it has signed. Kijkuit said details would be disclosed sometime this month. To push the service, @Home cable partners will handle local sales and advertising.

Streaming audio and visual capabilities on @Home will help advertisers, Kijkuit said, adding that he expected a much higher recall for ads on the broadband service and a better click-through response.

The company will offer eight content channels, including news, finance, culture and games. Content deals have been signed with Japanese games marketer Segasoft, and US broadcaster Fox News for international news video clips.

News will also be supplied by such Dutch companies as news wire service ANP, broadcasting network SBS 6, Brilliant for cartoon films, Meteoconsult for weather updates, and Dipro for digitized movie trailers.

Later in the summer, mail shots will be dropped city by city as the service rolls on. In September, ads will break in split-run editions of local Internet, computers, and lifestyle publications. Simultaneously, billboards will publicize the service.

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