China Telecom has announced ambitious plans to launch internet protocol television (IPTV) services in 2005. The announcement follows IPTV trials in Shanghai. Broadband internet subscribers there are able to access television programmes on demand, though the trial does not include the streaming of live broadcast television.
State controlled news agency Xinhua quoted China Telecom's IPTV chief, Liu Zhiyong, saying: "We'll open IPTV in most Chinese cities in 2005."
However, for the trial to proceed to a full launch, China Telecom and other Chinese telecommunications groups with IPTV ambitions will first require broadcasting licences. And that requires a change in the country's communications rules which currently prohibit telecoms groups from offering radio and television services.
Russian news agency Interfax quoted Du Baichuan, deputy chief engineer at China's media regulator, the State Administration of Film, Radio and Television (Sarft), as saying: "There is nothing wrong for telecom carriers to test IPTV, unless they operate it commercially. Right now, telecom services can only be offered by telecom operators, but this does not mean that this rule will not be changed in the future."
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