Joint venture hopes for explosive growth

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Andersen Consulting, global management and technology consultancy, and UK-based Telewest Communications have formed a joint venture company to challenge the interactive broadband communications market.

Arjang Zadeh, an associate partner with Andersen's broadband solutions group, will head the London-based company and has been named acting chief executive officer.

The joint venture intends to develop, customise and licence innovative products and services and be at the forefront of the digital communications industry. Most of the services will be offered through broadband channels over the next five years and are in varying stages of development. Full Video on Demand will be the first product to market, later this month. Other services planned will include interactive TV, wirier broadband home, music, pay-per-view, interactive advertising, games, information, and electronic banking.

According to a recent analysis, one in three homes in western Europe (50.8 million households) will receive digital television by 2003, compared with less than one in 10 in 1999. Andersen Consulting estimates that the market for the new company's services in Europe alone is worth over £7 billion. The company intends to build revenue growth quickly and may offer shares to the public.

"This is an explosive growth market. CEOs of major network companies know that broadband interactive services are crucial to their future success," said Zadeh. "I am very excited about this opportunity and believe that we have the ability to lead in this market."

"This joint venture will unleash the full potential of broadband services for Telewest and other operators," said Tony Illsley, chief executive of Telewest. "Today's announcement provides us with technological leadership as we continue to be first to UK consumers with new broadband services".

In the longer term, the company has its sights set on the North American and Asian markets.

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