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Three key European players, British Telecommunications Plc, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom are pursuing very different strategies for consumer interactive service provision with varying levels of sucess, according to industry watcher, Datamonitor. Its report, PTO Strategies for Consumer Interactive Services, finds that BT is ahead with video on demand trials, but its internet services have performed poorly; Deutsche Telekom faces threats from companies like AOL; and France Telecom is using the Minitel online service as a key part of its internet strategy. BT’s ADSL interactive television trials in Colchester and Ipswich and its cable trials in Westminster have given it the largest market and technical knowledge of video on demand of any European phone operator, but no specific new services have yet come out of this. It is, however, part of British Interactive Broadcasting which will bring digital interactive services to the UK next year. But in internet provision, BT Internet only had 2% market share as at January 1. Deutsche Telekom will not have the incentive to provide customers with interactive services, until its monopoly is broken with telecoms liberalization next year. It has not deployed any interactive services on its cable network and has carried out video on demand trials on a primarily technical basis. In addition, new entrants such as AOL are threatening its T-Online 58% market share. France Telecom has expanded the Minitel text service to the Wanadoo internet access and online service. It has begun deploying broadband for high speed access. Cable modems are already deployed on some cable networks with roll-out planned for this year and next, while ADSL and broadband are in the trial stages.

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CBR Staff Writer

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