20 April 2006
Changes proposed to television plans for Regional Victoria, Southern NSW, Griffith and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released a proposed variation to the licence area plans for analog television for Regional Victoria, Griffith and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. ACMA is proposing to add new channels, delete channels no longer needed or operated by broadcasters and to vary the conditions of some of the technical specifications for the existing national and commercial analog television services.
In addition, ACMA has released a draft variation to the digital channel plan for Central Victoria and Southern NSW. The draft variation involves the allotment and assignment of channels for digital television repeater services at Alexandra, Alexandra Environs, Balranald, Bonnie Doon, Deniliquin, Eildon, Eildon Town, Hopetoun, Howqua, Jerilderie, Mansfield, Seymour.
It is proposed to change the technical operating conditions of both the digital and analog television services at Albury North to better serve residents to the north of the licence area.
‘Before finalising these plans ACMA will weigh up a number of important factors. These include the aim of spectrum efficiency, the need to minimise any changes that viewers will have to make to their existing reception equipment to receive digital broadcasts and the desirability of broadcasters being able to use their existing transmission facilities to broadcast digital television services,’ said Giles Tanner, ACMA General Manager, Inputs to Industry Division.
‘ACMA has at all times given the interests of viewers a high priority. In some instances the proposed changes to the analog services may cause some minor disruption to viewers that will require them to upgrade their antenna to adequately receive the changed analog channels,’ said Mr Tanner.
‘In addition, the proposed digital channels will require some changes to analog services and will have some impact on the use of VCRs and set top boxes. Fortunately, only relatively minor disruption to viewers is expected as, in most cases, retuning of television sets and VCRs will be all that will be required. Public information, education campaigns and telephone hotlines will be established to deal with and provide timely advice on how to retune devices and alternative connection methods before any changes take place.’
The discussion paper and draft variation to the licence area plans for analog television for Regional Victoria, Griffith and the MIA and the explanatory paper and the draft variation to the digital channel plans for Central Victoria and Southern NSW are available on ACMA’s website. Copies can also be obtained from ACMA by calling Freecall 1800 226 667.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980.
Key elements of ACMA's planning and allocation process
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has given ACMA responsibility for planning and allocating those parts of the radiofrequency spectrum used for free-to-air broadcasting services in Australia, namely, the parts of the airwaves that are used for AM and FM radio, and VHF and UHF television spectrum (collectively, the broadcasting services bands).
Planning is accompanied by wide public consultation. At the end of the planning process for each area, ACMA prepares a licence area plan for the area that provides a comprehensive blueprint for development of all free-to-air broadcasting in that area.
Much of the detailed planning of transmission facilities will be carried out by successful licence applicants themselves, within guidelines set down by ACMA.
The technical characteristics that ACMA's licence area plans prescribe, together with ACMA's Technical Planning Guidelines, provide a non-negotiable ‘envelope’ of technical parameters and procedures within which licensees must do their detailed planning.
Licence area plans
A licence area plan is a legal instrument setting out the number and characteristics, including the technical specifications, of all AM and FM radio, and VHF and UHF television services that are available within the licence areas covered by the licence area plan.
Licence area plans specify the category (commercial, community, national and narrowcasting) of the new services to be made available and their licence area where applicable.
The technical specifications set out in licence area plans are not for negotiation after finalisation, however there is flexibility in the siting of transmitters.
Digital channel plans
Digital channel plans determine which television channels are to be allotted to each area, the assignment of channels to each broadcaster and the technical characteristics of those channels. ACMA’s objective in preparing the digital channel plans is to enable a broadcaster to plan its digital transmission coverage to match its analog coverage.
ACMA has also identified as yet unassigned channels that may be used for other purposes, including datacasting.