By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The Foxtel on Xbox360 service has today removed one of the major obstacles to take up: data charges. From today, Telstra BigPond customers will receive unmetered access to streamed Foxtel channels via the Xbox360 gaming console. Furthermore, Foxtel has also announced new channels, new NRL and AFL content, and other dedicated sports content.

This is important news for retailers, who can now essentially sell Foxtel’s biggest asset – sport – to consumers in store, without burdening them with massive data costs. The only provision to this is qualifying that the consumer uses BigPond as their ISP.

New channels to the service include League TV (NRL), Footy TV (AFL), V8 Supercars Australia, Racing TV (horseracing), BigPond Sport TV and BigPond News.

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Under the new AFL TV deal, from next season (2012), Telstra will have the rights to broadcast matches live over the internet to certain devices. This includes the Xbox360. The NRL TV deal, which is yet to be finalised, is expected to also include a similar streaming agreement. Telstra is the naming rights sponsor of the NRL competition.

Foxtel executive director of product and sales, Patrick Delaney, said that Foxtel on Xbox 360 will be offering a free one-month trial to all non-existing users who sign up before the end of June 2011. Current subscribers will receive a free month of movies from Showtime or the Movie Networks packages.

“This arrangement with Telstra is a big win for Foxtel on Xbox 360 users, allowing unmetered access to thousands of hours of great programming, all without a Foxtel fixed term contract,” Delaney said.

“There are around 1.3 million Xbox consoles in Australia and getting unmetered access to Foxtel on Xbox 360 is now as simple as plugging into BigPond internet to give subscription TV a go.”

Normal charges for Foxtel on Xbox 360 are $19.50 per month for the basic 17-channel package, plus $10 extra for Sports, and $15 extra for each of Showtime Movies, Movie Network and the Entertainment Network.