China's national cable-television network plans to conduct an interactive digital-TV trial during the World Cup soccer tournament in June. The event is seen as a test of the nascent main trunk of the cable network. China Central Television (CCTV), which last week announced it had secured the exclusive mainland rights to screen the World Cup, would participate in the trial, the Beijing Youth reported. Company chief Chen Xiaoning said China Cable Broadcasting Network, set up by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to integrate the country's cable-TV networks, would start issuing digital set-top boxes for pay-TV users this year. Industry experts expected the trial to be limited to cable networks that had been upgraded to two-way communication. But the difficulties in accessing end-users at the 'last mile' had yet to be overcome. 'There has to be a national standard [for digital pay television], then a nationwide network and also content,' Mr Chen said. Meanwhile, the broadcasting regulator's deputy director Zhang Haitao told a seminar in Beijing that China was speeding up digitalisation of cable and terrestrial TV. He hoped to build a national brand for all cable-TV operators in an overhaul of programme content and network systems.