RealTime IT News

Telstra Bails on Datacast Trial

[Sydney, Australia, June 16, 2000]: Telecommunications giant Telstra has announced it will withdraw from the national datacasting trial in to begin in July and August. The telco will consider its options for participating in the trial later in the year.

In a statement, the company attributed its decision to pull out to the outcome of the Federal Government's Digital TV and Datacasting Bill, as it believes the legislation restricts datacasting's potential in Australia.

As it currently stands, the bill favors broadcasters and limits the duration and variety of content that others can datacast.

Telstra said it particularly felt that the financial outlay to support the trial did not necessarily balance with the restriction to services providers could datacast.

"The opportunity to provide new and innovative services to Australian consumers may not be realized unless changes are made to the bill," Telstra maintained in a statement.

Telstra added that the Federal Government's process for allocating spectrum licenses for datacasting, which has not yet been confirmed, further dissuaded it from participating in the trial when it commences.

Telstra's decision to pull out for the moment follows the suspension of datacasting trials by print and online publisher John Fairfax Holdings. Fairfax also cited "deficiencies" in the digital television legislation as motivating its move.

Fairfax is now assessing whether to commence datacasting trials in Canberra later in the year, depending on what happens with the bill, as the publisher maintained that in its current form the legislation prevents datacasting being a commercially viable alternative.