British Telecommunications (BT) has applied to the Independent Television Commission (ITC) for a licence to become a TV broadcaster.
Although it says it currently has no near term plans to operate services it is known to be eyeing video-on-demand (VoD) and multi-channel TV. BT also admitted that its networks would need to be upgraded to ADSL standard before it could mount a meaningful operation.
"We want to apply so that we can see what kind of services we might be able to offer. We're not anywhere near the sort of stage where we have any specific plan in mind. And there will have to be a substantial investment in our network first," said A BT spokesman.
But the former state phones monopoly is known to want to add broadcast to its range of products in order to compete with the cable TV companies which are able to bundle phone services with multi-channel TV.
In recent months it has held discussions with Granada and Carlton Communications concerning content sharing deals. And last month Andy Green, head of broadband division BT Openworld said that it would no longer seek to generate its own content for broadband distribution.
Two companies Video Networks and Kingston Communications already offer VoD services over ADSL lines, in London and Hull respectively.