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Next Level and Liberate ink deal for TV over DSL

Next Level Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTV) and Liberate Technologies (Nasdaq: LBRT) are teaming up to deliver interactive TV using DSL technology, the companies said Friday.

Shares in Next Level closed at 68 1/4 Thursday. The company, which recently went public enables telephone companies to compete with cable companies in the growing data and video markets. It is mostly owned by cable box maker General Instrument Corp., a unit of Motorola (NYSE: MOT). Liberate, which recently announced a stock split closed at 218 3/4.

The deal will integrate Liberate client and server software with Next Level's advanced DSL broadband delivery system. The companies will deliver services, including high-speed Internet access, over standard telephone lines using DSL technology.

Liberate TV Navigator client software will be integrated with Next Level's new Residential Gateway 2000, a set-top box connected to the DSL line that can be hooked up with appliances such as telephones, PCs and TVs.

US West (NYSE: USW) said the deal will allow it to deliver advanced interactive services to its customers.

"This agreement will better enable us to provide enhanced digital service capabilities that allow our customers to compete more directly with cable companies in offering affordable Internet access," Pete Keeler, chief executive officer of Next Level, said in a press release.

Under the agreement, Next Level and Liberate also have a deal for joint marketing to promote their technologies to telephone companies. Financial details of the agreement were not released.