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US West to distribute software

The Baby Bell, in concert with six computer companies, will distribute software via its high-speed, fiber-optic network.

US West announced a partnership today with six computer companies to distribute software over the Baby Bell's high-speed, fiber-optic network.

The companies involved in the partnership are Microsoft, Oracle, Novell, Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment, and Hewlett-Packard.

The alliance will let US West offer software that customers can pay to use on a monthly basis over its network. Some of the applications that will be offered are Internet directory services, electronic billing, virus scanning, and Web site security.

"There will be many of the popular applications," said US West spokesman David Beigie.

The applications, which are paid for by the subscriber, essentially would be used live on the network. Users would just click on an icon that gives them access to the network software.

"Customers no longer have to purchase expensive software to run specific applications," US West chief executive Solomon Trujillo said in a statement.

The software will be available for customers by June in 40 U.S. cities in the 14-state western region where US West provides telephone service. Later it will be extended beyond US West's territory, because of an alliance penned with Williams Communications, Qwest, Cisco, and Intermedia.

US West's alliance with Williams gives it access to an additional 18,000 miles of fiber-optic backbone, while Qwest will provide an additional 16,000 fiber miles by 1999.

The extended service will provide not only greater access for these network-based software applications, but also a vast network that will be able to provide access to asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) service.

As reported earlier, US West announced it would offer high-speed Internet access with ADSL through its expanding fiber-optic network.