A great shadow has passed from the land. X-ville - or was X-World? - is no longer, and Xtra has a bright new home page.
The launch of the site finally brings to the Internet the new branding of which Xtra has been offering glimpses in TV advertising over the past ten days.
The old home page graphic with which Xtra launched in May 1996 still appears this morning on the new site, as the illustration for a feature article about the changes.
The story says Xtra general manager, Graham Mitchell, who returned to Telecom from Brierley's when Telecom restructured its Internet business earlier this year, "has been closely involved in the new home page development and created a clear plan of what should appear there."
The site itself is built on Vignette's Story Server, a powerful content platform that has been available to Xtra for some time, but has, until now lacked a serious application.
The new site allows content on the Xtra site to be displayed on the home page, as news headlines, in an 'Xtra Today' slot and in a variety of other ways. The channels metaphor has been maintained, and even extended with the addition of a new one, NZ Life, but the entire site now has a consistent navigation model.
Xtra also seems set to make better use of its partnerships with news providers IRN and Reuters, with the promise that news on Xtra will be "updated continuously throughout the day".
Mitchell says Xtra has also "ramped up capacity to cope with more online sessions and installed better hardware to deliver these improvements.
"Our development provides the platform for future enhancements which you should start to see more of in the coming months."