ITV has launched pilot broadband television service in the UK to allow internet users to access programme content over the Internet.

Starting with a 3-month trial in the Brighton and Hastings area on ITV Meridian, the trial will test consumer demand with a view to extending to other parts of the country.

"ITV has been proud of its regional services for 50 years, but until now we haven't had the delivery systems to provide a truly local service. I am delighted Brighton and Hastings have been chosen to pilot this service and I am looking forward to getting detailed feedback from local residents". Jeff Henry, director of ITV Consumer, said he is committed to using the latest technology to allow viewers to access ITV content and commercial services in the widest possible way.

A selection of local interest programmes will be provided for on demand viewing, including local news, weather, music and what's on guides, as well as locally produced short films, features and entertainment.

The service will also position ITV in the local classified advertising market competing against other media, such as local newspapers. Customers able to sell everything from cars, homes to placing lonely hearts ads.

"If this is successful we believe there is a great opportunity for a commercial broadcaster like ITV to move into new markets such as local classified advertising. We are very excited about the outcome of this trial and I look forward to results in the New Year".

There are seven different channels on each service and the ability to view content live, on demand, in a 24 x 7 schedule and via a searchable archive. Uniquely, the service will only be available on broadband at data rates ranging from 56Kbps to 800Kbps.

The service is free-to-air and can be viewed by anyone. The new network will be advertising driven, with the opportunity for viewers to upload their own classified adverts for cars, property and other goods.

More information can be found at

www.itvlocal.tv