[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
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.