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Pilot offers regional model

WA could learn a lot about providing electronic services to regional areas by observing a pilot recently held in Orange, New South Wales, says ICE Interactive Limited managing director Carl Bradden.

ICE recently conducted a pilot of ‘connected’, two-way, interactive television in and around the rural NSW town.

Mr Bradden said iTV was a cheap and effective means of bridging the digital divide between the information haves and have-nots.

“The Orange pilot provides ‘a stake in the ground’ for other regional services across Australia,” Mr Bradden said.

The ICE iTV system offers access to Internet-based services via a PSTN backchannel, providing a ‘connected’ interactive service.

A range of ICE’s iTV services will be deployed in Orange, including two-way interactivity, an interactive program guide, ISP services, online polling, and interactive advertising.

Pilot participants will have access to real-time information channels, picture and video email and the Internet at the cost of a local call.

“The ease of accessing interactive services and the Internet via the television set will overcome traditional barriers to Internet uptake such as cost and complexity,” he said.

“It will also be ideal for our ageing population, and the over-50s are one of our major target markets.

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