BT not rushing digital TV as broadband ban is lifted

BT not rushing digital TV as broadband ban is lifted
Melanie Reynolds BT sees no early boom in its broadband to the home network building plans despite being allowed to offer entertainment services over its national telephone network as early as 2001. The development of digital TV services make it unlikely that BT will move quickly to provide broadcast entertainment over its network. “In many senses the market has changed a lot since the restriction. Digital TV is on the horizon for this time next year and that is the most efficient way for broadcasting,” commented a BT spokesman. The ADSL trial this summer for 2,500 BT customers will continue as planned, unaffected by the government changes. BT’s managing director Bill Cockburn said: “BT will now be better able to plan for the implementation of multimedia services to the home.” The government is lifting restrictions on public telecoms operators that prevent them from providing broadcast services over their networks. The ban is removed immediately from areas where there are currently no cable operators and will be lifted completely from 1 January 2001. “It’s not unexpected. The good side is it’s an end to uncertainty,” added the BT spokesman. The restriction was originally introduced to enable cable operators to have a free run at setting up their business without head on competition from established companies. Its removal will be a major blow to the country’s struggling cable communications sector, which is already facing competition from satellite services. BT has always maintained that it needed to know that the restriction would end, in order to plan network investment in new broadband to the home technologies such as ADSL.


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