BT this morning announced it is to form a $200 million (£123 million) joint venture with LookSmart, a US-based online navigation company, to create and distribute internet portal services throughout Europe and Asia.
The 50-50 venture, BT's first extensive international internet deal, aims to set the standard for delivering country-specific web navigation and content to millions of internet users.
The deal will provide web directories and other content, internet communications and e-commerce services to consumers directly through its own websites.
The venture will also target the business market with syndicated services through ISPs and other partners.
The agreement, which excludes the UK, means BT's global alliance partners will be able to use the new venture's services for their own ISPs, giving them a consistent and distinctive 'dot.com' portal capability.
The deal also enables LookSmart, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, California, to develop its growing portal services outside its core US and Australian markets.
Alfred Mockett, president and chief executive of BT Worldwide, said: "As BT rolls out its global vision for the new global communications market this new venture will give BT and its partners a top quality portal and allow them to differentiate their ISP services."