Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Budget 2010: Digital Television Switchover
The Rudd Government will invest $375.4 million over twelve years to provide transmission of digital free-to-air television services from a new satellite platform – the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service.
All television viewers in Australia will now have access to the full range of free-to-air digital television services as a result of the new satellite television service, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said.
"For many years, poor television reception has troubled some residents in regional and remote areas of Australia.
"The new satellite service will bring to those viewers the range of television services long enjoyed by Australians in capital cities.
"It will ensure that viewers who are unable to receive terrestrial television services are not left behind in the coming switchover to digital," Senator Conroy said.
Under an agreement reached with all television broadcasters across Australia, broadcasters will upgrade a substantial number of existing regional and metropolitan analog ‘self-help’ transmission facilities to operate in digital, while the Government will fund the VAST service.
"The VAST service will include the main standard definition channels providing Seven, Nine and Ten network programs, high definition channels, and new digital channels including GO!, 7TWO and ONEHD. All national broadcaster channels will be available including ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, the forthcoming ABC news channel, SBS ONE and SBS TWO."
"The VAST service will also provide a dedicated news channel containing the local news content of the regional commercial television broadcasters from all regions of Eastern Australia," Senator Conroy said.
"As a result, all Australians watching the satellite service will be able to see locally relevant news. The Western Australian broadcasters will deliver their regional news services as they do at present."
"The new satellite service is a key element of the Government’s strategy for the switchover to digital television in Australia which commences in the Mildura/Sunraysia area on 30 June 2010 and concludes at the end of 2013."
"Legislation introduced into Parliament in March will underpin the new satellite service," Senator Conroy said.
Assistance to viewers reliant on reception from self-help re-transmission sites
Senator Conroy also announced a satellite subsidy of $99.1 million to the end of 2013 for those viewers in communities reliant on community run self-help towers who will now need to access the new satellite service because of the closure of these self help sites.
"The satellite subsidy will be a minimum of $400 per household, with higher amounts of $550 for defined ‘very remote area’ households and $700 for defined ‘far north tropical’ households. In addition to these subsidy amounts, households in identified remote indigenous communities may be eligible for an additional $280 worth of assistance," Senator Conroy said.
Senator Conroy said approximately 130,000 households in over 600 communities, in mostly regional and remote areas, may be eligible for this subsidy.
This investment in the switchover to digital television is part of the Rudd Government’s plan to strengthen our economy and secure our future.
Further details about eligibility criteria for households will be announced in the coming weeks.
Date: 11 May 2010
Contact: Suzie Brady 0408 258 457