British cable companies test interactive

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Bell Cablemedia, NYNEX CableComms and TeleWest Communications, all based in the U.K., have formed a joint venture to establish a single, national network of multimedia broadband services for the cable industry. Although no start date has been set, trial results and key market findings will be shared with all cable operators. A cable franchise from each of the three will be selected for the trial and at least 2,000 cable customers will take part. Interactive services such as home shopping, home banking, advertising and video on demand will be offered. Two other trials are planned to begin later this year. British Telecommunications will announce in several weeks a start date for a trial involving 2,500 homes using existing copper wire phone networks in Colchester and Ipswich. Olivetti subsidiary Online Media and Cambridge Cable are planning a test in Cambridge.

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