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
Analog TV signals to be switched off across regional Victoria on 5 May 2011
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced that all analog TV signals in regional Victoria will be switched off for good on 5 May 2011.
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,” Senator Conroy said.
Digital TV provides more channels and better sound and picture quality, and has been embraced by Australians.
“Many Victorians have been enjoying the benefits of digital TV for some time now, and those yet to make switch now have a deadline to get ready for digital TV,” Senator Conroy said.
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.”
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.
“Most people find the switch to digital relatively straightforward and inexpensive, but we will be working closely with local communities across regional Victoria to help everybody understand how to get ready for digital TV,” Mr Townend said.
The Government’s Household Assistance Scheme would provide support for eligible households which required some additional, practical help to make the switch to digital TV.
This includes households where one person receives the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement.
Mr Townend said that as part of the upgrading of TV broadcasting infrastructure across regional Victoria some communities would be switching to digital only TV before the 5 May 2011 switchover date for the rest of regional Victoria.
This will include analog TV transmission sites at Bonnie Doon and Howqua which are planned to switch to digital-only TV late this year.
“These changes will occur as part of the introduction of new digital TV services to the region including for Mansfield, Alexandra and Yea which will result in better picture and sound quality and more free-to-air TV channels for viewers.”
New digital TV services will replace analog TV services at Hopetoun, Lorne, Jeeralang/Yinnar South, and Boolarra in February 2011.
“Households in these locations will need to be ready for digital TV sooner than the other parts of Victoria,” Mr Townend said.
“We will be communicating directly with households in these areas to advise them of their digital switchover dates and how they can get ready for digital only free to air TV in their area.”
Date: 28 September 2010
Contact: Suzie Brady 0408 258 457