iiNet offers customers TV via broadband

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Perth-based internet service provider iiNet has announced a new partnership with FetchTV to allow customers to watch a range of free and subscription television channels with their broadband connection.

This effectively meaning that customers on iiNet will now have one single provider for internet, telephone and television services.

The new service will also be under its “Freezone” – which provides services unmetered to customers – and users will be able to access FetchTV’s Video on Demand service via a subscription, with a library of movies, TV shows, documentaries, children’s programming and more. This comes with a subscription, however, but will also be part of the iiNet Freezone.

The partnership has been described by chief executive Michael Malone as a new change to Australian television.

“iiNet and FetchTV are set to change the face of Australian television forever. FetchTV allows people to easily tailor their viewing experience, making it the perfect transition into the world of digital TV. It’s amazingly practical, but simply put, people will love it because it’s really cool,” he said.

The service also comes with a personal video recorder and will feature single and multiplayer games, access to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, messages from iiNet and 3D TV right from the box – all “for a very low monthly cost”.

“FetchTV has been developed to satisfy the entertainment needs of the 70% of Australians who have elected not to take up the existing and expensive subscription TV alternatives,” CEO for Fetch TV, Scott Lorson, said.

“We are delighted to team up with iiNet to introduce FetchTV to the Australian market, given their proven network reliability, reputation for product innovation and award winning customer service. The team at iiNet has been heavily involved in the development of the FetchTV service, and they share a common passion and commitment to innovation and differentiation.”

TV via broadband isn’t new. It has been popular in France, the UK and in Hong Kong – most likely because it also integrates catch-up services with terrestrial broadcasts. The UK’s equivalent, known as BT Vision, gives the option to watch BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five programming again for up to one week.

FetchTV is currently backed by T. Ananda Krishnan, a Malaysian billionaire that controls the ASTRO pay TV group in the country. It is also has emerged as a mystery bidder for the television rights for the AFL – hoping to shut out Foxtel from the bidding rights by talking to free-to-air networks, with rumours Ten is the front runner to be a partner when the current deal between Seven and Ten (and Foxtel) expires in 2011.

Trials will begin in the next month or so, and the service will be available to all customers shortly after.