Oz pair pledge digital conversion

Williams, Porter team on b'cast issues

SYDNEY — Kim Williams, topper of feevee operator Foxtel, and John Porter, topper of regional paybox Austar, have committed to convert to digital and end analog broadcasts by March 2007.

“The majority of Australians watching digital television have chosen to do so through subscription television because of our superior content choices, service innovation, interactive enhancements and focus on the customer,” Williams said.

They also said they would deliver at least two high-definition television channels by 2008.

The pair’s bullish talk is in contrast to the sluggish take-up of terrestrial digital by Oz auds, which has forced the government to push back its deadline for analog’s demise from 2008 to 2012.

Fewer than 10% of Aussie households have made the switch while more than 1.1 million homes have digital services with Foxtel or Austar. Fellow provider Optus will bow its digital service next month.

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