AT&T, Yahoo Bolster Broadband Service

Yahoo and AT&T announced an expansion of their relationship Wednesday, giving subscribers to their co-branded high-speed Internet service a beefed-up version of Yahoo's instant messenger with voice. AT&T has also speeded up its broadband service to accommodate consumers' rapacious appetite for multimedia content, and partnered with Starz Entertainment for a new video download service named Vongo.

With the "phone out" feature of AT&T's voice-over-Internet-protocol service, calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 other countries can be made for two cents a minute or less. U.S. consumers can receive calls on their PCs from traditional and mobile phones for $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year with the "phone in feature."

For $27.99 per month, the speed of AT&T's broadband service is now between 3mbps and 6mbps for downloading streams, and between 384kbps and 768kbps for uploading. Additionally, customers who sign from this point forward for one-year contracts can get 1.5mbps downloads and 384kbps uploads for $12.99 per month, or 3mbps downloads and 416kbps uploads for $17.99 per month.

The Vongo service costs $9.99, and allows consumers to download movies and other video content online and play it on Windows-based PC, laptop, or portable media devices, as well as on their TVs. Subscribers get unlimited access to over 1,500 movies and video selections, as well as the Starz TV channel. Pay-per-view titles are available for $3.99 per movie.