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Worldgate jumps after on expansion plans

Shares of Worldgate Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WGAT) rose 3 to 41 5/8, or 7 percent, on Tuesday after the TV-based Internet service announced plans to expand into Europe, Latin America and Asia.

The Bensalem, Pa. company provides Internet access to people through their cable TV connections, so users don't need a modem, PC or other equipment.

Nineteen cable companies in 13 countries penned trial agreements to deploy Worldgate's service in Korea, Mexico, and Australia, among others. The company didn't clarify how many of the companies had signed trial agreements.

Also, the U.S. Patent office approved patents on its linking technology. Earlier this month, Virtual Modem filed suit against Worldgate, alleging the company violated Virtual's patents.

The growth of TV-based access has grown as Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) has been the most notable player in the space. Last year, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) also announced plans for its own set-top box, called "Blackbird." Chips from Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) allow images on a PC monitor to be viewed without distortion on a TV screen. Also, the advent of the digital set-top box from companies such as General Instrument Corp. (NYSE: GIC) may further expand the TV as broader entertainment medium.

Worldgate shares began trading in March, after its initial offering of 5 million shares priced at $21 a share.