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Australia’s second largest telecommunications company Optus has launched an internet channel with Walt Disney in a bid to attract children to its broadband services.

The website, providing games, learning activities, music and short programs, will be available to Optus broadband customers from July.

Optus group director, products and delivery Chris Lane said he hoped the channel would encourage more families to take up broadband. “The internet isn’t just about email anymore … it really does have a promise of education and entertainment,” he said, launching the product at the CeBIT Australia technology conference in Sydney.

“Disney is the perfect partner to help us, especially in targeting families and children.”Walt Disney Internet Group executive vice president and managing director (international) Mark Handler said the channel could be offered to other service providers in time.

“There is certainly potential for broader distribution,” he said. ustralia will join eight countries – the United States, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina – which have the service under similar agreements.

The website will have specific Australian content including locally produced series shorts. It will also offer mobile content downloads to Optus mobile customers for set charges.

The telco, which already boasts an exclusive MTV mobile and web music portal, believes similar deals could be made to compete in the broadband arena in the future. “We’re not experts in content creation,” Mr Lane said.

Optus Consumer … Multimedia last week said broadband revenue grew 44 per cent with 50,000 new subscribers in the March quarter and 546,000 broadband customers as at March 31, 2006, an increase of 191,000 customers over a full year period.

Mr Handler would not disclose any financial terms underpinning the deal between Optus and Disney.

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