Australia will have its first pay TV service in July.

While there’s a legal wrangle in progress over satellite delivery, Cable Television Services Ltd. has pacted with Telecom to provide a hybrid fiber-optic/coaxial cable link to 150,000 homes in selected Sydney and Melbourne suburbs in the next four months.

Rapid expansion planned

Chairman Lynton Taylor, a former Kerry Packer lieutenant, said that there were plans for the service to pass 1.1 million homes in the major cities within three years.

Cable TV Services plans a sign-up rate that “could be as high as 30% in the first year.”

Telecom would be providing the cabling to homes and the black boxes at roughly the same as regular telephone installation fees, he said.

These run between $ A250-$ 400 per house ($ 180-$ 280), and the monthly system charge would be $ 7.20.

Taylor says that Cable TV Services has signed the Turner Cartoon Network, Turner Network TV and Cable News Network to provide material and “is in negotiation with other program suppliers for planned movie and pay-per-view channels.”

The company has marketed and distributed CNN Intl. to hotels, businesses and government agencies, and is expanding into the domestic market with 10 channels and a broader programming base.

Taylor envisions “vintage and recent-release movies, sports, news and current affairs, plus children’s programs, cartoons, musicvideos, documentaries and family entertainment.”

He didn’t provide details of deals with program suppliers but promised further announcements in the next few weeks.

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