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Nortel unveils new ‘Personal Internet’ technology

Nortel Networks has announced what it calls a Personal Internet Portfolio – technology that will eventually allow you to download movies from the Web or get other fee-based content, courtesy of new Web-tracking technology that will be able to identify the kind of content you might want to pay for.

The new technology will give Internet service providers a more sophisticated way of tracking their subscribers interests so they can deliver more targeted content offerings.

“We are fundamentally changing the way content will be delivered, as well as the type of value-added services that can now be provisioned across today’s broadband Internet – and it’s all based on user and content attributes, not merely IP addresses,” Dominic Orr, president of content networking for Nortel, said in a release.

The Web-speeding technology Nortel will use for this content delivery was acquired last year, when it bought Alteon WebSystems for $7.3 billion US. In 1999, Nortel acquired Shasta Networks, the source of the Internet-based equipment its Personal Internet technology will use.

The Alteon and Shasta products combined will let service providers and Net content companies generate revenue by offering new fee-based services. They will also allow Internet service providers to personalize their customers Web-surfing experience, because they’ll be able to recognize the customer’s interests and preferences.

For instance, they’ll be able to customize offerings that can be delivered to a subscriber, whether through a personal computer, laptop, or cell phone. The content offered would be customized to reflect the way the subscriber is accessing the information.

If the user surfs a lot of travel sites, the Personal Internet technology will recognize that and target content offerings, including ads, that would be of more interest to someone who travels. That kind of tracking may raise more Internet privacy concerns.

Nortel will be competing in this new area with its perennial arch-rival Cisco Systems, which bought ArrowPoint Communications last May for about $6 billion US. ArrowPoint makes switches that direct Web traffic.

Nortel estimates the market for fee-based content on the Web will reach $33 billion US within three years.

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