Cyprus is claimed to be the first country in the world to have its own scheduled television channel on the internet, launched at a fraction of the cost of a conventional terrestrial or satellite television station.

Cyprus ITV is a 24-hour television channel available anywhere in the world over a broadband connection.

Promoting culture, leisure and business for Cyprus, the online video-on-demand service is designed to provide viewers with information about the Mediterranean island and associated businesses.

“We are determined to put Cyprus firmly on the world map,” said Steve Collins, the managing director of Cyprus ITV. “We will promote business, leisure and the Cypriot culture to the world using the most powerful means of communication the world has ever seen: internet TV. Today is the first step towards realising those goals.”

Cyprus ITV has an in-house production company, shooting on high-definition video for the service. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Press and Information Office on the island have will also use the channel to broadcast their own productions.

The Cyprus service is an example of how internet protocol television can be used to deliver high quality video over the public internet to highly-targeted local audiences as well as a wider world abroad.

The delivery technology is provided by Narrowstep, which provides a system it calls TelVOS that essentially includes everything needed to schedule and deliver an online video service.

The London-based company went public in the United States in May 2005 and recently announced $7.4 million in equity financing.

“Last year we launched Glasgow TV, the first city to have their own scheduled broadband TV channel,” said Iolo Jones, the chief executive of Narrowstep. “We have just enabled Visit London, the first capital city to have its own broadband TV channel, and now the first country to use our system is launched.”

The Narrowstep system is being used to provide a pilot local television service for ITV, the leading UK commercial television company. Narrowstep will also provide live internet coverage of the Paralympic Winter Games. The company now supports over 50 broadband services.