Feds Call For Discussion On Digital TV Dates Could Be Changed

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The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced the release of a discussion paper covering a legislative framework for the digital television switchover which could be bought forward from 2013 subject to a legislation change.

“The discussion paper proposes legislative amendments required to develop a phased, region-by-region timetable to deliver the switchover to digital television,” Senator Conroy said.


“Providing greater flexibility in the legislation is an important factor in implementing a switchover timetable that addresses the various issues affecting digital switchover in Australia.”


“This is another strong step towards meeting the Government’s election commitment to achieve digital television switchover by the end of 2013,” Senator Conroy said.


The discussion paper canvasses options as to how a switchover timetable should be implemented and managed to ensure Australia meets the 31 December 2013 digital switchover deadline.


Currently the Broadcasting Services Act does not provide for the simulcast period to be shortened, any digital television switchover timetable could not presently include switchover dates for non-remote regional areas before either 31 March 2011 or 31 December 2011 however there is speculation that the switchover timetable could be shortened with one option being canvassed is a phased in switch over by State and Region.

 

On 26 March 2008, the Australian Government announced a $37.9 million strategy to drive Australia’s transition to digital TV, comprising:


· $8.5 million for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to undertake technical switchover-related projects, including an evaluation of digital TV transmission and reception throughout Australia;
· $4.8 million for a ‘Digital Tracker’ to assess issues such as public awareness of digital switchover, intention of households to convert and actual conversion rates;
· $1 million over two years for research into digital reception problems in multi-unit dwellings with a shared TV antenna system;
· $6.7 million for a logo and labelling scheme to clearly indicate which products are digitally ready, ensuring Australian consumers can be informed and confident about what products will suit their needs; and
· $16.9 million for the Digital Switchover Taskforce, which will coordinate the switchover program within the Department.

The Federal government are also looking for discussion on the duration of the digital-analog simulcast period, and “ensuring that the level of coverage and potential reception quality achieved by the standard definition digital service is equivalent to the existing analog service”.


See attached the discussion paper titled:
Legislative framework for implementing a digital television switchover timetable

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