Fastweb plans rollout of free Internet TV

The founder of Fastweb, Italy's No. 2 telecommunications company, is now seeking to bring Internet television to as many of the world's 300 million broadband users with an Internet TV network called Babelgum. Associated Press report said.

The report said Babelgum, which will be introduced publicly in a testing phase this month, uses peer-to-peer technology supported by an in-house server to deliver free video to computers anywhere in the world where there is a broadband service,  going head-to-head with Joost, founded by the Internet gurus who invented Skype.

'We're here, the technology is cutting-edge and the timing is right,' Fastweb founder Silvio Scaglia was quoted as saying.

Whereas competitor Joost has been snatching up content deals with Viacom, Scaglia is going after the niche market with Babelgum by seeking to offer a broad catalog of specific content that potential viewers would have hard time finding elsewhere without having to constantly conduct computer searches, the report said.

While content deals were still being worked out, Scaglia said the video provided will be professionally produced, contrasting with the amateur footage that has fueled YouTube's popularity. Babelgum, which is launching in English, will start by offering a minimum of $5 to a content provider for every 1,000 hits, the report said.