Optus' interactive TV dinner stays frozen

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Optus' interactive TV (iTV) service remains in limbo, with no fixed plan to commercialise the service, which has been in trial mode for more than a year.

The trial is being continued to improve the product and improve the service's commercial model, an Optus spokesperson said. "All positions in the trial have now been taken."

However, despite the trial being "frozen" in February, no date has yet been set for its completion. "It is still moving along and will continue to move along until it becomes a launchable product," the spokesperson said.

Around 3000 Sydney users are participating in the trial. Subscribers were initially offered a choice of $39.95 or $59.95 monthly access packages, which gave a $200 discount installation for customers putting in an Optus local phone line as well.

Optus and pay TV rival Foxtel are still awaiting a decision from the ACCC regarding their undertakings on a proposal to share pay TV content. Optus has repeatedly suggested that if the issue cannot be resolved to its satisfaction, it could withdraw from the pay TV and local loop telephony markets altogether.

Speaking on a conference call for Optus' half yearly results, chief executive Chris Anderson said any plans for the consumer and multimedia division could not be made independently of a decision on the Foxtel undertakings.

"I don't think they can be unscrambled and I'm not prepared to do it at this stage," he said.

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