Tiscali preps Internet TV offering

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ROME -- Internet service provider Tiscali said Wednesday that it will launch Italy's largest from-scratch television enterprise in September.

So far, the main players in Italy's fast-growing Internet TV sector are such incumbent operators in the traditional terrestrial or satellite TV sector as Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset, state broadcaster RAI and News Corp. unit Sky-Italia. Those companies can reduce costs by migrating some existing programming to their Internet venture.

Tiscali's plan will rival Italy's largest in its scope, with the Sardinia-based ISP planning 30 channels of mostly original programming. The project, which will carry the name Tiscali TV, will operate over a two-megabit bandwidth -- smaller than its rivals -- which will allow it to be carried by less advanced Internet accounts than those that require four or six megabits for their Internet TV services.

The company did not say what the budget for the new project will be.

The plan to launch in Italy follows on the heels of a similar plan launched last week by Tiscali's London-based U.K. unit.
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