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Lucent to unveil video networking company

Lucent Technologies will announce a new venture tomorrow aimed at making video easier to send over high-speed networks.

Lucent Technologies will announce a new venture tomorrow aimed at making video easier to send over high-speed networks.

The new company, called GeoVideo Networks, will take advantage of technology developed by Lucent's New Ventures Group to create a network and suite of software focused on high-speed Net video, which is often slowed by roadblocks on the public Internet.

Along with fiber-optic network partner MetroMedia Fiber Network, the company will initially aim its services at businesses, which are close to urban fiber networks and have considerable demand for high-speed, high-quality video. The company cites university telemedicine, teleconferencing or the long-distance video connections used by television stations as possible candidates.

The company also will add consumer applications such as video-on-demand services as the market matures, it says.

"The possibilities are pretty much endless in terms of applications," said Lucent spokesman Chris Pfaff.

Lucent is just one of many companies targeting the high-speed video market as the Net matures to the point where video and other multimedia content is increasingly commonplace.

Businesses have long had connections to the outside world fast enough to handle video, which requires far more bandwidth than ordinary text or Web graphics. This kind of connection is filtering down to the consumer level as more households sign up for cable Internet or high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) service from the telephone companies.

But the Internet itself has enough glitches and roadblocks that video services are often well below par. A recent example saw the Victoria's Secret Web site stumble under the load of requests for a live fashion show.

The Lucent technology would take advantage of the huge bandwidth available on MetroMedia's fiber network to make an end run around much of the public Internet's blockages, and then use software developed inside its Bell Labs to streamline the delivery of the video.

As one example, a GeoVideo browser will allow customers to tailor their connections to receive HDTV-quality video or higher, depending on their connections, or have up to 16 windows open simultaneously receiving different videoconferencing signals.

The new company also will be working with a coalition of 27 public television stations around the country, which will serve as network connection hubs for different tentacles of the urban video networks.

GeoVideo joins dozens of other start-ups that have been spun out of Lucent's New Ventures group in the last several years. Most recently, the firm unveiled a telephone-based Internet browser that reads the content of Web sites to callers.