Following a successful trial in a thousand homes, Telecom Italia has launched its Alice Home TV broadband television service in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo, covering over 2 million households.

The service will be extended to include 21 cities in January 2006, reaching 4 million Italian households, and by the end of 2006 it will reach over 8 million homes.

Telecom Italia has been developing its IPTV, or internet protocol television, service in collaboration with Alcatel, Microsoft and Pirelli.

Around 350 million euro has been invested in the project. The Telecom Italia Group plans to spend around 10 billion euro in new products and services over the next three years, including over an investment of over 2 billion euro in broadband.

Alice Home TV currently works over an Alice 4 Mega ADSL connection and a kit consisting of a set-top box and an ADSL Wi-Fi modem.

A remote control offers access to thematic and pay-per-view video-on-demand programmes through a simple user interface. An infrared keyboard also enables to users to access the internet through their television.

The basic offer provides a selection of news, sport, music and movie channels and a video-on-demand library with 200 movies, television series and cartoons, updated with over 30 movies per month. It comes with unlimited high-speed internet access and an extra personal home phone number in a package for 45.90 euro per month.

For an additional 11 euro per month, subscribers may view live and recorded home football matches of all 19 Serie A TIM teams. Matches are also available on an individual pay-per-view basis from 4 euro each for live games and 1 euro for recorded match.

The Film Channel will feature over 150 major new box office releases for 3 euro per film, following deals with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.

A next-generation ADSL2+ broadband service will be introduced in February 2006, offering downstream speeds of up to 20Mbps over a standard telephone line. All Alice Home TV customers will gradually be upgraded to the 20Mbps service.