Senator Stephen Conroy announced that all analog TV signals in regional Victoria will be switched off for good on 5 May 2011.According to the Minister, this will affect around 455,000 households across Victoria, outside the Melbourne metropolitan area, with the exception of Mildura/Sunraysia which became Australia’s first digital only TV region on 30 June 2010.
“Regional Victoria is already well down the track to conversion to digital-only TV, with 76 per cent of households already converted, and 95 per cent of households aware of the digital switchover date,” said Senator Conroy.
Senator Conroy said that broadcasters are building new digital TV transmission services or upgrading existing services to bring digital TV to as many households as possible. These services are being rolled out before the 5 May 2011 switchover date.
“Where households cannot receive their digital TV from terrestrial broadcast towers, they will be able to receive the full range of digital TV services from the government-funded VAST satellite service which includes the full suite of digital channels from all of the commercial networks, as well as the ABC and SBS. VAST also has a dedicated local news channel to show the local news bulletins from regional commercial broadcasters for each licence area,” added Conroy.
Households eligible for the VAST service will include those who depend on local analog self-help transmitters that are not being upgraded to digital. These households will be eligible for the Satellite Subsidy Scheme to assist with the cost of converting to the satellite service. Eligible households will be directly advised of their eligibility for the scheme.
The Executive Director of the Digital Switchover Taskforce, Andy Townend, said Taskforce would work closely with broadcasters, retailers, antenna installers and community groups to assist with a smooth transition to digital only TV.
New digital TV services will replace analog TV services at Hopetoun, Lorne, Jeeralang/Yinnar South, and Boolarra in February 2011.