The analogue TV switch-off begins

This morning the Mildura/Sunraysia because the first Australian region to make the switch from analog to digital television.

The announcement:

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today gave the signal for the historic commencement of digital-only television in Australia.

At 9am, analog television in Mildura/Sunraysia ceased broadcasting, making the region the first in Australia to switch to digital-only television under the Government’s Digital Switchover timetable.

“The switch to digital-only television in Mildura/Sunraysia is an historic day for Australia,” Senator Conroy said.

“People in Mildura/Sunraysia have today moved from having some of the worst television reception and the most limited choice of channels, to leading Australia in the move to 16 or more channels of clear pictures and crisp sound.”

The Government’s Digital Tracker survey showed virtually all households in the region had made the switch to digital and Senator Conroy said he was proud of the work done to ensure residents were prepared.

“Representatives of the Digital Switchover Taskforce have been out in force in Mildura/Sunraysia over the last few weeks to ensure that all possible help is given to the local community,” Senator Conroy said.

“Over 2,500 households have been helped to convert to digital TV under the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme, and the Digital Switchover Liaison Officer, Kellie Boyce, has done a fantastic job making sure people have been given all the information and assistance they have needed.”

Senator Conroy also acknowledged the contribution of regional commercial broadcasters to the switch-over process.

“The installation by broadcasters of three new transmitters to serve known blackspots in Ouyen, Underbool and Robinvale has greatly improved reception of digital television in the region.”

Broadcasters are also delivering terrestrially the full suite of digital television services to viewers in the region, matching the services available from the new satellite service, Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST).

VAST is broadcasting in the Mildura/Sunraysia region now, and is available to any household in the area which cannot access a terrestrial digital signal, or has previously relied on the analog satellite service.

The Government-funded satellite service provides access to the same number of digital television channels that are currently available in capital cities, including multi-channels such as ABC2, ABC3, SBSTwo, 7Two, Go! and OneHD.

It will also carry the new ABC 24 hour news channel when it is launched later this year, and will provide access to the local news from regional commercial television broadcasters via a dedicated news channel.

“This is a fantastic outcome for viewers in regional, rural and remote Australia, many of whom have put up with poor reception and a very limited choice of television services for many years,” Senator Conroy said.

“The Government is committed to improving the choice and quality of digital television services for viewers in all parts of Australia as we move towards digital switch-over nation-wide by 31 December 2013.”

Despite the best efforts of the Taskforce, broadcasters, local Councils and community groups, Senator Conroy said a small number of people may not be ready, and he urged them to contact the Digital Switchover Taskforce on 1800 20 10 13.

“Based on experiences overseas, we know there will be a few people – 1 or 2 per cent – who will not be ready for the switch. The Taskforce is ready for this and has help available for any viewers who did not make the switch in time.”

The Gillard Government is committed to building the infrastructure that will underpin the development of the Digital Economy. The switch to digital-only television is a crucial measure to support this objective.

The Government announced last week it would release of 126 Megahertz of broadcasting spectrum as a Digital Dividend after analog television was completely switched off in December 2013.

The release of the Digital Dividend is an historic micro-economic reform that will enable the provision of improved communications to all Australians.

Senator Conroy said the Mildura/Sunraysia region was leading Australia’s move into the Digital Economy.

“I congratulate the people of Mildura/Sunraysia for their enthusiasm and embrace of digital television, and look forward to the next phase in the digital switch-over process as we progress to analog switch off in regional South Australia and Broken Hill on 15 December 2010,” Senator Conroy said.

Source: Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy press release


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.