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NBTel leading the way in North America with Aliant's new interactive information and entertainment television service - VibeVision


    
    SAINT JOHN, N.B., Jan. 24 /CNW/ - NBTel, an Aliant company, today
announced the launch of VibeVision, an interactive information and
entertainment television service that is leading the way in North America.
    "Our VibeVision service is an innovative alternative to cable television
that gives consumers more choice and convenience through interactive
applications that make everyday things better(TM), said Jack Travis, president
and COO of NBTel and Senior Vice-President of sales for Aliant Telecom. "NBTel
is the only telecommunications company offering fully integrated
communications services - all on one bill."
    Backed by NBTel's world-class customer service, offered seven days a week
and 24 hours a day, VibeVision requires no installation fees or purchase of
equipment. It offers over 100 high-quality digital television and audio
channels and easy access via a set-top box to a wide variety of convenient
services, such as an interactive TV guide, Web browsing, e-mail communication,
directory listings, news, weather and sports; a variety of self-serve
applications; and NBTel's community events channel, CommunityActive.
    This leading-edge service is offered in selected areas of Moncton covered
by NBTel's VideoActive(TM) network, which forms the backbone of NBTel's
interactive television service.
    Mr. Travis explained that VibeVision service is the result of a hands-on
approach to product development. "This launch is a true example of the
LivingLABTM innovations environment at work," he said. "It's a formula that
integrates the power of customer feedback with employee ingenuity and partner
support to test products and services in a real-life setting."
    NBTel's LivingLAB is a provincewide innovations environment created as an
incubator for electronic living and electronic business initiatives. Spread
across the province of New Brunswick, the LivingLAB is linked through Aliant
to the other Atlantic provinces. It accelerates commercialization of products
and services, while providing continual learning, opportunity and innovation.
    NBTel's VibeVision is a result of extensive consultation with 84 Moncton
NBTel customers who, with their families, participated in a seven-month
trial," he said. "By engaging these customers and our employees in our
LivingLAB innovations environment, we have created an integrated service that
truly meets the needs of today's consumers. Our valuable experience will also
benefit the other Aliant Telecom companies in their respective provinces."
    As a direct result of this feedback, VibeVision service offers innovative
channel packaging by themes. With the easy-to-use interactive TV guide,
customers have full control of their channel search by surfing television and
audio channel listings - by day, time of day, channel or genre. Backed by
NBTel's superior bilingual service, offered seven days a week and 24 hours a
day, VibeVision service also offers the convenience of receiving only one bill
from a world-class communications provider.
    To develop this advanced, interactive information and entertainment
service, NBTel partnered with iMagicTV, a Saint John-based company of which
Aliant is a major shareholder.
    "iMagicTV's software enables telecommunications companies worldwide to
offer competitive television services to their customers," said Marcel LeBrun,
President and CEO of iMagicTV. "We are pleased to play such a key role in this
ground-breaking commercial deployment in our own backyard.
    iMagicTV's DTV Manager software provides NBTel with business operations
and management of television services, along with leading-edge consumer
features like enhanced digital TV browsing, an interactive program guide and
interplay with television-based Web-surfing.
    NBTel is one of iMagicTV's six licensed customers, including Kingston
Communications in the United Kingdom. DTV Manager is based on IP and uses xDSL
and other high-speed broadband technologies that turn copper telephone lines
into high-speed digital connections.
    In June 1998, NBTel became the first telecommunications company to be
granted a broadcast distribution license by the Canadian Radio-Television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), for the cities of Moncton and Saint
John. NBTel currently offers its VibeVision service in selected areas of
Moncton covered by the VideoActive network and plans to expand it to selected
areas of Saint John by mid-year. In December 1999, MTT, another Aliant Telecom
company, filed an application with the CRTC for a license to distribute
interactive television services in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
    NBTel is an acknowledged leader in telecommunications. It provides a full
range of services including local and long-distance telephone, wireless,
Internet, e-commerce, television, interactive multimedia, data and managed
network services and information technology solutions. NBTel's people use
their expertise to deliver advanced customer-contact and self-serve
applications that provide a competitive advantage to businesses and enable
customers to do everyday things better(TM). For more information, visit NBTel
at http://www.nbtel.nb.ca.
    NBTel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aliant Inc. (TSE: AIT). Aliant
Telecom is part of the Aliant group of advanced technology companies. Aliant's
staff of 9,000 professionals delivers full service, integrated solutions
through its four core lines of business: wireline and wireless
telecommunications, information technology, mobile satellite services, and
emerging business solutions. From its base in Atlantic Canada, Aliant serves
consumer and business customers worldwide. For more information, visit Aliant
at http://www.aliant.ca.
    iMagicTV, recently named one of the top 50 high-tech start-ups to watch
on the East Coast of North America by Red Herring Events, is an innovative
software company providing digital television solutions to telcos worldwide.
The company has developed DTV Manager software for telcos that helps them
deliver digital TV to consumers over their existing copper infrastructure via
high-speed broadband networks including ADSL and VDSL technologies.
    Established in 1998, iMagicTV maintains its headquarters in Saint John,
New Brunswick, Canada and has offices in Cambridge (United Kingdom), Denver
(Colorado) and Atlanta (Georgia). For more information on iMagicTV and its
innovative and unique television solution, visit www.imagictv.com.
    Media inquiries will be addressed during a conference call to be held on
Monday, January 24 at 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (12:30 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time) hosted by Stephen Wetmore, President and CEO of Aliant.
    The conference call dial-in number for participants is 1 800 387-2917.
The conference will be rebroadcast beginning at 3:30 p.m. (AST) and will be
accessible until midnight (AST) Tuesday, January 25. The dial-in number for
the rebroadcast is 1 800 558-5253, and the reservation number is 14248807 No.



    LivingLAB innovations environment

    NBTel's LivingLAB(TM) is a province-wide innovations environment that was
created as an incubator for electronic living and electronic business
initiatives. It enables us to take new products and services from concept to
the market quickly, while providing continual learning, opportunity and
innovation. The LivingLAB is spread across the province of New Brunswick and
is linked through Aliant to the other Atlantic provinces.
    Drawing upon our customers, employees, partners and VideoActive(TM)
Development Centre, the LivingLAB environment generates real market learning
in new electronic services and the emerging networked multimedia industry. It
gives us the opportunity to work in partnership with New Brunswickers, using a
wide range of our products and services, across the full gamut of consumer and
business appliances: touch-tone phones, screen phones, computers and
televisions.
    This approach gives us unique and valuable experiences in exploring new
technology with and for New Brunswickers. Then, once we're confident these
innovations meet the needs of customers in our province, we can export them to
global markets in partnership with industry leaders.

    NBTel
    A Full Service Communications Provider

    NBTel has a history of delivering innovative services, as demonstrated
with such world-firsts as TalkMail(TM), a universal voice-messaging service
included with basic local service; CallMall(TM) interactive services on
Vista* 350 screen phones, giving access to home-based banking, shopping and
information services; and Vibe(TM) service, NBTel's extreme-speed Internet
service.
    In the LivingLAB(TM), a province-wide innovations environment that was
created as an incubator for electronic living and electronic business
initiatives, NBTel strives to give customers more choice and convenience
through interactive applications that make everyday things better(TM). New
Brunswickers benefit from the convenience of self-service at any time of day
and in the comfort of home through services available on Vista* 350 screen
phones and online, such as NBTel Express(TM), a self-serve application that
lets customers pay bills and manage their account, and PowerPages, an
electronic directory.
    In 1994, NBTel opened another e-door to New Brunswickers when it became
the first telephone company in Canada to offer Internet services. In
conjunction with the Department of Education, NBTel makes dial-up Internet
services available to 183 community access centres located in rural and remote
locations. Anyone living in any area of the province can tap into the Web's
endless information and entertainment resources and communicate through e-mail
at a nearby community access centre.
    Building upon its philosophy of keeping people connected with technology
right at their fingertips, NBTel launched the first-ever commercial service to
provide two-way, high-speed, video, audio, graphics, pictures and text using a
home computer in 1996. Vibe service was the first service to be offered over
NBTel's interactive, multimedia, broadband VideoActive(TM) network. Through
NBNet(TM), Sympatico(TM), Vibe and Advantage(TM) Business Internet services,
NBTel Internet reaches every region of the province. Its dial-up Internet
services are accessible to every household and business in New Brunswick
through a local phone call. NBTel's extreme-speed connection currently passes
over 90,000 homes and 14,000 businesses through NBTel's VideoActive network.
    NBTel strongly believes in universal access to advanced technology, in
all areas of the province. As a result, NBTel began to expand its VideoActive
network to over a dozen more communities in 1999.
    In June 1998, NBTel became Canada's first telecommunications company to
be granted a broadcast distribution license by the Canadian Radio-Telelvision
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). This license covers the cities of
Moncton and Saint John.
    Since then, NBTel has engaged employee ingenuity, essential customer
feedback and partner dedication and support to develop VibeVision in the
LivingLAB.
    NBTel has always relied heavily on the valuable feedback of customers
throughout the province. In January 1999, the VibeVision trial began in 20
employee households in the city of Saint John. In August 1999, 84 customers in
the city of Moncton agreed to help NBTel develop VibeVision. It was through
this essential collaboration with trial participants that VibeVision became
the service launched in the city of Moncton in January 2000.

    * Trademark of Nortel


    VibeVision service
    Beyond imagination

    VibeVision is NBTel's interactive information and entertainment service
for television. It offers over 100 high-quality digital television and audio
channels and easy access to a wide variety of convenient services, such as Web
browsing, e-mail communication, directory listings, news, weather and sports
listings; a variety of self-serve options; and NBTel's community events
channel, CommunityActive.
    Building on the incredible reputation of Vibe(TM) service, NBTel's
extreme-speed Internet service, VibeVision is delivered over NBTel's
interactive, multimedia, broadband VideoActive(TM) network through the
software solution of iMagicTV, a company headquartered in Saint John, New
Brunswick, of which Aliant is a major shareholder.
    Another innovation of VibeVision is the channel packaging. As a result of
valuable customer feedback, NBTel grouped channels by favourite themes.
Customers may create their own service by adding as many of these specialty
channels groups as they choose to their basic service. As well, customers have
full control of their channel search with their easy-to-use interactive TV
guide, which lets them surf through program listing and episode descriptions
instead of waiting for them to scroll. Backed by NBTel's superior bilingual
service, offered seven days a week and 24 hours a day, VibeVision service also
offers the convenience of receiving one bill for local and long-distance
services, Internet and TV from a world-class, full-service communications
provider.
    Competitively priced, VibeVision service lets customers tap into the
endless resources of the Web, communicate with friends and family through
e-mail and even post content to the CommunityActive events calendar - without
investing in a personal computer (PC). PC owners will benefit from greater
flexibility by having access to traditionally PC-based services on another
appliance: their television set. NBTel is currently exploring ways to offer
VibeVision on both PC and TV.
    In June 1998, NBTel became the first telecommunications company to be
granted a broadcast distribution license by the Canadian Radio-Television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to distribute interactive television
services to the cities of Moncton and Saint John. NBTel currently offers its
VibeVision service in selected areas of the city of Moncton and plans to
expand it to areas of Saint John by the end of the second quarter of 2000. In
December 1999, MTT, another Aliant company, filed an application with the CRTC
for a license to distribute interactive television services in the Halifax
Regional Municipality.

    iMagicTV
    COMPANY PROFILE:

    iMagicTV, recently named one of the top 50 high-tech start-ups to watch
on the East Coast of North America by Red Herring Magazine, is an innovative
software company providing digital television solutions to telecommunications
companies (telcos) worldwide. The company has developed DTV Manager, software
for telcos that helps them deliver digital TV to consumers over their existing
copper infrastructure via high-speed broadband networks including ADSL and
VDSL technologies. Established in 1998, iMagicTV maintains its headquarters in
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and has offices in Cambridge, United
Kingdom, Denver, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia.

    COMPANY MISSION:
    iMagicTV's mission is to enable telcos to deliver and manage interactive
digital TV services over high-speed multimedia networks.

    DTV MANAGER 2.0:
    DTV Manager delivers feature-rich interactive TV services for subscribers
and a cost-effective, managed solution for telcos. Based on industry
standards, DTV Manager leverages the telcos' existing infrastructure to help
quickly and easily deliver new programming options to consumers and help
telcos compete in the digital marketplace. For consumers, DTV Manager can
operate via a set-top box or a personal computer allowing them to surf through
thousands of programming options. In addition, the iMagicTV solution provides
a single source of information and entertainment in the home. And, by
subscribing to telephone, television, Internet and e-mail services from one
vendor, billing can be easily streamlined and integrated into one invoice.

    KEY EXECUTIVES:
    Marcel LeBrun - President and CEO
    Allan Cameron - Vice President of Technology
    Doug Harrington - Vice President of Sales and Customer Services
    Gerry Verner - Vice President of Marketing and Finance

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
the Canadian Press Photo Network/



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For further information: Robyn Tingley, Manager, Corporate Public 
Affairs (English): (506) 333-3097; Jean Breau, Manager, Corporate Public 
Affairs (French): (506) 333-3079

SOURCE Telephone / Wireline

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