Report: Aussie IPTV slow to load

Telco control of b'band delays service

SYDNEY -- Australian IPTV deployment is at least 18 months -- and possibly three years -- away, lagging many other global markets, according to a report released Wednesday by broadcast regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Wide IPTV deployment has been blocked by a broadband market controlled by Australia's telecommunications companies, the ACMA report said.

A lack of available bandwidth, and subscription plans that cap consumer access to it, provide little incentive for the consumption of large video files, the report said.

Weak business models and the time and cost of dealing with content providers focused on broadening their audience have further hampered the IPTV market.

Also challenging IPTV's development in Australia is the proliferation of peer-to-peer networks that allow illegal downloads of professional content, the ACMA said.

"Development of on-demand content services will depend on issues such as pricing, network capability and content owner attitudes," the report said.

Australian government and telecom plans to implement a national broadband network and an expansion of ADSL coverage could address some of the barriers to IPTV, the ACMA said.

Despite the barriers, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. recently announced that it would launch an IPTV service later this year, while the Seven Network, in partnership with Yahoo, is investigating its own IPTV plans.

Pay TV provider Foxtel also plans to introduce a broadband-on-demand service via its digital set-top box later this year. IPTV pioneers Reeltime Media and Anytime On-Demand both recently closed down.