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Matsushita Develops Fax Net Connection

Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Company has announced that it is working on a system that will offer Net access via telephone and fax machines.

The system consists of a fax/telephone front-end processor (FEP) server, conversion server, and World Wide Web server, which connect to fax, telephone, and PC terminals. Pricing for the system, which is due to ship in mid-1996, has not been set.

A similar system is available from Universal Access, a Santa Barbara, California-based company. Called WebFaX, the Universal Access system lets users navigate the Web over digital phone lines and transmit hypertext documents to a fax machine.

Fiber Optic Network Solutions of Northboro, Massachusetts, has developed another way of bringing Net access to the masses. Its FONSmitter, a fiber optic transmitter, allows cable TV and telecommunications companies to provide low-cost Net access, video-on-demand, and interactive video configuration.

The FONSmitter will allow providers to offer narrowcasting, the process by which large amounts of information such as Net access can be sent to a select group of people. The device will be demonstrated at the Western Show '95 in Anaheim, California, later this month.