Requires Macromedia Flash
Web Browsing

Requires Audio Program. Click the right mouse button to download.
Stock Quote

August 30, 2000

Lou Saviano
Maita/Saviano Public Relations
510 739-0621

Dr. Mark Mann
Integrated Opportunities
405-606-2008 and Integrated Opportunities to Help Bridge the "Digital Divide" By Offering Rural Electric Consumers Net Access Via Phone

User-owned Utilities Will Have Opportunity to Offer Consumers Ability to Hear Web Pages, Review Utility Rates and Offerings, and Pay Energy Bills -- Without a Computer

San Jose, CA -- August 30, 2000 -- and Integrated Opportunities today announced a partnership aimed at offering many rural Americans who don't have Internet access a new way to get on the World Wide Web by using an ordinary telephone.

Utilizing's unique netECHO product, Integrated Opportunities will offer audio Internet access to Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) and Municipal Power Authorities (MPAs) throughout the nation. Today, these user-owned utilities serve more than 30 million consumers, and Integrated Opportunities has existing agreements to serve one million of these customers.

For consumers primarily interested in utility Web information, the agreement also calls for to "voice-enable" REC and MPA Web sites, making it possible for consumers to call in by phone and hear Web site information that computer users are able to see on the screen. They can listen to account information, review utility rates and offerings, and pay bills -- all without a computer.

"This exciting proposition will help bridge the digital divide by offering REC and MPA customers simple and convenient access to Internet-based information using a telephone," said Garen Ewbank, founder of Integrated Opportunities.

Individual RECs and MPAs will develop their own prices for the audio Internet services they choose to offer their users.

"Nearly 70% of rural America is not yet connected to the Internet, but we expect to see that change as consumers learn the benefits of accessing the Net via the familiar and easy-to-use telephone," said Dr. Emdad Khan, President and CEO of

By using simple voice commands, subscribers to the audio Internet access services will be able to locate and hear information from any Web site, check their e-mail, and access voice portal services, such as news, sports, weather and stock quotes.

Customers going directly to voice-enabled REC or MPA Web sites through a special toll-free number will be able to review their electric meter status, request account information, review utility news, participate in surveys, and pay their bills. Some MPAs and RECs offer distance learning business management courses, which could also be made available through phone access. In a nutshell, netECHO technology can take the existing MPA and REC Web pages, and make them instantly accessible in audio format. As the sites' content changes, it is also dynamically changed in audio format, so users always get the most up-to-date information. "netECHO enables rural economic development by bringing e-commerce to consumers who feel most comfortable with telephone access to information" said Jay Spencer, Integrated Opportunities COO.

Integrated Opportunities will co-locate and co-host's netECHO technology at its facilities, which are located in Oklahoma City, OK. Field-based usability testing of the services is currently underway, and at least one electric cooperative will pilot the service in October.

netECHO uses technology that integrates text-to-speech, speech recognition, telephone interface, multimedia and intelligent agents. Unlike other services, netECHO reads actual Web pages without rewriting them into Voice Extensible Mark-up Language (VXML).   

About, a privately held company headquartered in San Jose, Calif., develops, markets and supports an Audio Internet Browser, netECHO, which provides audio-based telephone access to the Internet for businesses and individuals. The company's patent-pending technology can be bundled with other products, such as traditional computer-based Internet access, or voice mail, and can be customized to meet individual business needs, such as employee access to Intranet sites. also offers business software that automates the process of voice-enabling a company's Web site, furthering development of the "voice Web." has been testing its netECHO consumer product since June. For more information about, visit, or call 1-408-360-7730. 

About Integrated Opportunities:
Integrated Opportunities works with user-owned utilities to provide technology, knowledge and communication-based solutions that foster economic development in the rural and outlying areas of the United States. Integrated Opportunities seeks and develops opportunities for Rural Electric Cooperatives and Municipal Power Authorities to offer value-added services that grow their revenue stream, and help sustain an area's economic vitality. The Oklahoma City, OK-based company is currently working with Media Fusion to provide broadband communication services via existing powerlines.

For more information about Integrated Opportunities, visit, or call 405-606-2000. 

# # #

Copyright © 2000-2010 All Rights Reserved.
Designed by
Interactive Identity
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy