Gambling on-line is a straight business

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 May, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 May, 1998, 12:00am

Horse racing without the bends, all in the name of cyberspace betting. An Australian consortium has won permission to build a straight race track designed specifically for showing racing on the Internet.

The reason the races must be bendless is that it eliminates distortion under digital compression for transmission. The picture quality for a full race distance cannot be achieved from rounded race tracks.

The course, just outside Adelaide in South Australia, is due to be completed next year and races could be run up to six times a week. The consortium - TeleTrack Australia - has even grander plans: a series of straight racetracks across Australia and New Zealand.

After four years work, international telecoms regulator the ITU has agreed on a standard for an 'electronic ear'. The aim was to find a globally agreed method for assessing audio quality. It should make dealing with faults in international long-distance circuits between operators more straightforward.

Australia's second-ranked phone company Optus Communications, which is 49 per cent owned by Hongkong Telecom parent Cable & Wireless, plans to bundle pay-TV and telephone services in the next few months. Optus has spent A$2 billion (about HK$10.02 billion) building a broadband network that reaches 2.5 million homes.