Hongkong Telecom (HKT) could pour up to $10 billion over 10 years into its ground-breaking interactive television service. A soft launch of the operation, the world's first full-scale 'hands-on' television service of this type, was scheduled for July, but the full-scale launch has been delayed until October. The company said the July date conflicted with the handover period. William Lo, managing director of HKT's interactive multi-media services division, said it had already invested $200 million in the venture and this figure would rise to $2 billion in two years. The interactive TV service would include video-on-demand, home shopping and home banking. The project would utilise technology which allowed customers to use normal phone lines to send and receive information using their TV screens. Mr Lo said the services would be available to about 15 per cent of Hong Kong's 1.6 million households in October and about 80 per cent by mid-1999.