The march of digital-only free to air television in Australia continues to gather pace.This morning, South Australia and Broken Hill became the second region to switch off their analog television transmission equipment at 21 transmitter sites. New digital TV services have also been introduced at Morgan in Riverland, Clare, Orrorroo, Quorn and Burra in the Spencer Gulf.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said it was another milestone in Australia’s transition to digital-only free to air television.
Conroy also said: “More digital channels are also on the way, as a result of the Government’s $34 million funding partnership with regional commercial broadcasters to provide the full suite of commercial digital TV channels throughout regional South Australia and Broken Hill.”
The first region to switch to digital services had included 10,000 households in Mildura/Sunraysia, regional South Australia and Broken Hill who had been helped to switch to digital TV through the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme.
The communities of Melrose and Wilmington in the Spencer Gulf area were the first in Australia to completely switch to digital TV by satellite to replace their community operated self-help transmitters, by using the Government’s Satellite Subsidy scheme covering the supply and installation of high definition satellite set top boxes, satellite dishes and cabling for a contribution of $200.
Andy Townend, Executive Director for the Digital Swichover Taskforce, said an assistance program to help people who are not ready for digital TV will be available to households for another month, to bring them the same number of digital TV channels as is available in the capital cities, delivered by satellite. The Taskforce has issued a free number, 1800 20 10 13, for those requiring assistance.
Senator Conroy said the digital switchover program was delivering better free-to-air television services across Australia.
“It’s a fantastic outcome for viewers in regional, rural and remote Australia, many of whom have put up with poor reception and limited channel choice since the introduction of TV.”
The total digital switchover is expected to be completed across Australia by 31 December 2013.