Ihug creates wireless push service for PCs

The Internet Group (Ihug) has developed software which allows it to push news and other services to PCs via its high-speed StarNet service - without the remote PC needing to be logged on. The software deliver Usenet news now - but the ISP will be talking to other content providers.

The Internet Group (Ihug) has developed software which allows it to push news and other services to PCs via its high-speed StarNet service — without the remote PC needing to be logged on.

StarNet, which Ihug will officially launch next month, broadcasts in satellite format from Auckland’s Sky Tower. Users need a small receiver dish and an expansion card for a Windows 95 or NT system. Downstream speeds of up to 2Mbit/s are promised.

Ihug has a demonstration of StarNet running at its Newton Rd office and one of the company’s in-house developers, Jort Bloem, has written software allowing the ISP to stream data into StarNet-equipped computers around the clock.

“We’ve got it running for Usenet already,” says Ihug director Tim Wood. “You set your groups and you’ve got news streaming into your machine 24 hours a day.

“We haven’t worked out the email side of things yet, but we have ideas on how we can do that. There will be a message coming into your machine telling you that you have mail, rather than the mail itself being sent out. There will be audiovisual content as well.”

Wood says that doing the same with news and information sourced from local media organisations will be easy.

“We do need to form liaisons with other local content providers. The news arrives and it’s there for you in the morning without you having to lift a finger.”

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