Datacasting decision due in next few months: Alston

Federal Communication Minister Senator Richard Alston said the future of interactive information services for digital television would be decided before the Federal election.

"I hope that we'll be able to make an announcement well before the election about what we propose to do," he said.

Senator Alston said the Government was weighing up issues such as consumer take-up of digital equipment, the lure of interactivity and the role of information and educational services before making a decision.

The Government was recently forced to cancel a planned auction of datacasting licences due to lack of interest, after industry criticism said the rules were too restrictive.

UK cable giant ntl - the only bidder for a national datacasting licence at the dumped auction - maintains there is still a future for the industry.

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