Australia Awaits Digital Details

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Sydney, Australia -- The federal government here is close
to finalizing details for the introduction of digital television, but it has yet to make
key decisions on how new companies may enter the "datacasting" market for the
provision of Internet-like services over the digital spectrum.

The government had not released details of its decision at
press time, but reports here said over-the-air broadcasters would be required to transmit
signals in both high-definition and standard-definition formats.

The move is likely to anger the Nine and Ten television
networks, which had lobbied against the introduction of cheaper standard-definition
technology. Broadcasters are required to begin digital transmissions by January 2001.

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