The companies will base the new initiative on RealNetworks's RealSystem G2 media player to deliver high-bandwidth streaming media--such as higher-quality audio and video files--to @Home subscribers. Users will also be able to access on-demand content, and view live event Webcasts.
"Delivering a broadband streaming media experience to consumers requires a new kind of ISP infrastructure," RealNetworks chairman and chief executive Rob Glasersaid said in a prepared statement. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to take the lead with @Home in developing a broadband streaming media delivery platform and look forward to establishing RealSystem G2 as the standard architecture for broadband ISP's."
The companies expect to finish development and begin deployment of the system in the third quarter 1999.
Broadband Internet services are expected to increase in consumer appeal in the coming years as more Netizens begin to demand faster Web access and higher bandwidth for multimedia applications.
Already, many Web heavyweights are anticipating the shift to broadband. Earlier this week, America Online announced it would begin deploying digital subscriber line access in most Bell Atlantic markets. However, the online giant still remains in a quandary with its inability to resell cable modem access.
Federal regulators also continue to debate over rules regarding high-speed access, and who gets to deploy them. Already, many Baby Bells have gone ahead with DSL deployment, as seen in SBC Communications' announcement Tuesday that it would accelerate the rollout of DSL services in California and in its five-state Southwestern Bell territory.
Bloomberg is a partner of CNET: The Computer Network, which publishes News.com.
News.com's John Borland contributed to this report.