Telstra wants Foxtel on the T-Box

Rose Major ©RapidTVNews | 07-07-2010

T-boxTelstra’s chief executive David Thodey has confirmed that the Australian telco is working with local pay-TV platform Foxtel to add a pay-TV dimension to its recently-launched IPTV offering, the T-Box. Telstra owns 50% of Foxtel.

The T-Box currently offers content including sport and music from Telstra’s own Bigpond internet unit, as well as on-demand movie offerings. But other linear TV is currently limited to free-to-air channels which are accesible via the T-Box’s digital-terrestrial tuner.

Offering a Foxtel package via IPTV would be the logical way for Telstra to move forward with offering pay-TV via the box. But there are, Thodey told AAP, regulatory issues with the move. With Foxtel as Australia’s dominant pay-TV operator and Telstra the dominant telco, a tie-up between the two would likely cause regulators some discomfort, particularly with Telstra owning such a large stake in Foxtel. Foxtel already offers its package over Telstra’s cable network.

Rival IPTV operator FetchTV, which has launched on the network of iiNet and is expected to launch with Internode in the coming weeks, has a small pay-TV offering including MTV, Nat Geo and Nat Geo Adventure, E! Entertainment, CNBC, Discovery Turbo, Home & Health, Travel & Living and Science, Animal Planet and BBC World News.

Telstra has claimed the T-Box is targeting the two-thirds of Australian homes without pay-TV but should regulators allow it, both Telstra and Foxtel would jump at the chance to open up a new market to the pay-TV operator while attempting to raise the revenue Telstra gets from the T-Box.

© Rapid TV News 2010