Babelgum the competing webTV service to Joost has announced that it is opening the service to users around the world.

New members alongside the original beta testers can from today, download a revised and enhanced Babelgum client application. Access is free to the user and will be funded by advertising in the future.

"Today we have proven that the Internet can be used as a global distribution network for TV quality video. The convergence of broadcast and web technologies opens new opportunities for our content partners and offers a personalised experience to each of our users”, said Silvio Scaglia, Babelgum's chairman and co-founder.

Babelgum claims its strength over other webTV offerings is that it has no ties to individual content owners and distributors. It believes this makes its editorial strategy is primarily "user-centric".

Babelgum uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to enable theoretically an unlimited library of content to be delivered to millions of users worldwide - basically anyone with a PC and broadband Internet connection.

Content on Babelgum is accessed via an initial nine core channels, organized by genre, that then provide access to hundreds of hours of broadcast quality material from both niche and mainstream programmers.