WITH the development of a receiver no bigger than a shoebox, Faxcast Broadcast Corp is hoping to revolutionise the communications industry. The theory behind the machine is simple - it picks up signals, decodes them and sends them on to a personal computer, printer or fax. At first the system sounds a circuitous route, but the Faxcast system allows users to send a signal to multiple sources, rather than transmitting point to point as is the case with a traditional fax or phone line. The advantage of the system is that once a distribution list has been programmed, simply pressing a button means the fax is delivered simultaneously to up to 80 sources. The receiver also allows the user to monitor what information machines linked to the system receive. The potential, according to company chairman Herbert Towning, is immense. Multinational corporations with many branches, such as banks, would no longer need to fax information point to point and publishers could send material to subscribers in an instant. Publishers could even give subscribers an option on whether or not to accept the information by programming the receiver to decide whether or not to accept the material by looking at the title and price displayed on the screen. But Faxcast is not planning to sell the technology directly. Instead it is licensing the system on a country by country basis. Through joint ventures on a regional level and what can best be described as franchises within countries, Faxcast is hoping to develop an international network of users. Having recently merged with Allied Satellite Communications in Britain and with a listing on the London stock exchange the company is also planning to list in New York on NASDAQ early next year. The company plans to expand the network by forging links with companies already operating in the communications industry. In Canada, it has already established a joint venture with Canadian Satellite Communications and it also owns 35 per cent of Faxcast Holdings Ltd in Asia. The company plans to use Faxcast Holdings as a platform to greater expansion in Asia and has already granted licences to the Seven Network in Australia and National Panasonic Business Centres in New Zealand. And an agreement in Malaysia is imminent, according to company sources. In Hong Kong, it is in an advanced state of discussions with possible partners, including TVB. But the company is proceeding with caution because it is looking for a partner in the territory that will be able to assist with future expansion in China. The fact that China lacks a well developed telecommunications infrastructure is not an impediment to growth according to Mr Towning. ''Our system allows them to leap frog their information structure,'' he said. Faxcast hopes to put 200,000 receivers in place in the US and Asia in the next three years and in Europe it hopes to install up to 100,000. Commercial trials are underway in the US using NBC as a carriage for the system and in Britain using the BBC. In Australia, the bureau of meteorology is conducting system trials.