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Faster Internet service coming

April 12, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

By the end the year, area residents will able to buy Internet services from Allegheny Energy that are 100 times faster than the dial-up technology they have now.

The service will be available in portions of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Allegheny Communications Connect, a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy, and BroadbandNOW Inc. Tuesday announced a deal to provide high-speed connections to the Internet.

With the deal, Allegheny Energy jumps into a fast-changing Internet world. Phone companies, cable providers and other firms across the country are racing to provide new and faster access that is transforming the Internet.

Until recently, most residential Internet users have logged on to the Internet over phone lines, which can be slow and tie up the telephone.

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With the BroadbandNOW service, Allegheny Energy will use digital subscriber lines, wireless and other systems to connect users to the Internet. Users will be able not only to cruise the World Wide Web, but also to listen to concerts and watch videos.

BroadbandNOW, an Irving, Texas-based company, will provide programming that includes "Bonanza" reruns and live concerts, Allegheny Communications Connect Vice President John Flinko said.

Flinko said Allegheny will offer different levels of service, charging more for faster speeds. He said prices will be comparable to or better than other DSL providers.

With the service, Flinko said he could download a 1 1/2 minute video clip in 10 to 12 seconds.

"It allows you to actually watch it on the Internet," he said.

In addition to video, Flinko said the service will include interactive games.

"It makes it a much more enjoyable ride," he said.

Flinko said the company will begin trial service in Greensburg, Pa., on May 1. He said most customers should be able to buy the service by the fourth quarter of this year.

Other companies are rolling out their own high-speed Internet connections.

Antietam Cable Television has been testing its own service for about two months, said Cindy Garland, director of special projects.

In partnership with Kiva Networking, Antietam Cable will offer Internet connection through its cable lines. Customers will buy a modem that hooks onto the cable. Since it is a high-capacity line, Garland said the service does not interfere with television reception.

"You can watch TV, talk on the phone and surf the Net at the same time," she said.

The service will cost residential customers $39.95 a month for unlimited access. Garland said Antietam Cable will notify customers about the service when it becomes available in their area.

She said all 36,500 customers should be able to buy the service within about four months.

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