Lucent Technologies Debuts Broadband Video Venture

High-quality bi-directional video is on its way from Lucent Technologies. The company has announced a new venture, called GeoVideo Networks Inc., that will deliver what Lucent is calling "HDTV-quality" video over the Internet. Entertainment—including video-on-demand— is part of the intended package, but Lucent is emphasizing the medical, financial, and business-to-business applications of the broadband fiber network. The announcement was made March 29 at Lucent's Murray Hill, New Jersey headquarters.

Fiber networks have been proven to deliver the high bit rates needed for HDTV. University researchers last fall succeeded in attaining a 2.4-Gigabyte/second transmission rate over a fiber network between Washington state and Stanford University, in Silicon Valley.

Network infrastructure for the GeoVideo Networks venture will be supplied by Metromedia Fiber Network, Inc. GeoVideo will develop video hubs in key markets throughout the world, according to the announcement, and public television stations are developing plans to jointly market and sell GeoVideo Networks services. CSRG Digital L.L.C., a group of 27 public television stations involved with the new fiber network, reaches 50% of the US broadcast audience.

Within the next five years, GeoVideo Networks plans to have a presence in more than 60 markets worldwide. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas will be the first American cities to join the system, with London the site of the first international network hub. "Broadband video for the Internet age has arrived," said Cliff J. Schorer, president and co-CEO of GeoVideo. "GeoVideo Networks aims to assemble the most sophisticated network for broadband video services the world has ever seen. The opportunity to serve businesses with high-quality IP video has never been greater, and we believe we have the best mix of partners and solutions to make this a reality."