Broadband Internet and multimedia service provider SpeedCast is set to offer satellite-enabled multimedia content to service providers. SpeedCast chief executive Thomas Choi Kyo-hyung said at the launch of SpeedCast Multimedia, the company's satellite-based Internet network, that the service would enable content providers to deliver flicker-free streaming multimedia content to Internet service providers (ISPs) in Asia and the Middle East. The network could deliver multimedia content via satellite to the ISPs at speeds of up to 300 kilobits per second (kbps) with broadband and 40 kbps with narrowband. 'By delivering content to the edge of the Net, we bypass Internet congestion points and ensure the highest quality viewing experience for end users,' Mr Choi said. He said all the channels would initially be free to ISPs and subscribers, but mutual agreements would later be made with ISPs and content partners to charge for some high-quality and financial channels to cover operational costs. He expected SpeedCast would cover more than half a million broadband subscribers and five million narrowband subscribers in the regions by the year end. The target audience would include residential customers and business professionals. SpeedCast Multimedia would receive income from advertising, sponsorship and subscription services, which would be shared with their ISPs and content partners. Mr Choi said the service complied with traditional Internet browsers, so users would not need to acquire any special software to be able to view the multimedia content. SpeedCast would provide the broadband multimedia service only through contracted ISP partners. Mr Choi said the company had signed up eight content providers who would provide up to 30 channels of multimedia content including financial news, entertainment, lifestyle and culture. These content providers include Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia in Singapore, Cinema Republic and Radio Republic in Hong Kong, Yahoo! Broadcast in the United States and Britain, Fashion TV in France and iMBC in South Korea. SpeedCast had signed up five ISPs in the regions and was negotiating with at least one in Hong Kong, Mr Choi said. SpeedCast vice-president Willy Chow Wing-nin expected the company would sign with 15 content providers by the year end. He also expected that SpeedCast would see a break-even by the first quarter of 2002.