Akamai, Apple’s streaming-media partner, has officially launched its services in the UK.

The company has also been chosen to broadcast material, via the Web, from the Cannes Film Festival this year.

The company provides a network of global, high-performance services for delivering Internet content, streaming media and applications to end users. It owns over 2,750 servers world-wide.

Akamai sells its services to content providers, such as Apple’s QuickTime TV network. It takes content from providers and puts it on its Web, helping its customers content avoid the network bottlenecks that occur on the Internet. The company claims this means an enhanced experience for end users.

Content is broadcast to the "edge" servers via the Internet, and also beamed down through cable-based satellite connections.

Apple owns five per cent of Akamai. Akamai has shown phenomenal growth – from thirty employees this time last year to 515 today. The company has 225 servers on 33 networks in 16 European countries. 75 of these servers are placed in the UK. Akamai intends placing 6,000 servers globally by the end of 2000.

At the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event, Akamai hosted a demonstration with Apple to showcase Apple’s QuickTime technology. Video footage from a South American beach was successfully beamed via satellite and Akamai servers to NAB, and displayed on a full-size screen there using QuickTime.