13 June 2007
ACMA extends community television trial in Adelaide
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has decided to extend the community television trial in Adelaide until 4 July 2008. The trial will continue to be conducted by the current operator, C31.
‘C31 continues to meet the criteria for a community television triallist,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘ACMA notes that C31 has not met its projected financial target, but is satisfied that it is currently solvent. C31 has been providing quarterly financial reports to ACMA and will continue to do so in the coming financial year.’
In June 2006, ACMA decided not to allocate a permanent community television licence in Adelaide on the basis that neither of the two applicants for the licence (C31 and OUR TV Adelaide Ltd) satisfied the relevant criteria. Instead ACMA extended the community television trial for six months to 4 January 2007 and sought expressions of interest for a future trial. There were two applications for the trial licence, from C31 and Television Adelaide Ltd.
In December 2006, ACMA decided that C31 met the criteria in the Access and Compliance Statement for a Trial Community Television Service and extended the trial in Adelaide to 4 July 2007. The decision was made on the basis of written undertakings provided by C31 in relation to meeting the needs of the local community, encouraging participation in the service and financial reporting.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.
Community television trials
Open narrowcasting television class licences are not separately issued in the same manner as service licences such as permanent community or commercial licences.
In order to operate an open narrowcasting television service using the broadcasting services bands, a service provider must obtain from ACMA an apparatus licence (under the Radiocommunications Act 1992). Before issuing such a licence, ACMA must make spectrum available under section 34 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 for the purpose of providing an open narrowcasting television service. A condition is placed on these apparatus licences that they be used only ‘to provide an open narrowcasting television service for community and educational non-profit purposes’.
Access and compliance statement for a trial community television service
In exercising its discretion to issue apparatus licences to applicants proposing to provide trial community television services, ACMA has regard to the following matters in order to determine whether a service is likely to comply with the licence condition:
- the capacity (management, technical and financial capacity) of the applicant to provide the proposed service, or to continue to provide the service
- the corporate structure and constituting documents of the applicant (i.e. is it profit-making?)
- the nature of any agreements, or proposed agreements, between the applicant and any third party
- the level of openness or non-exclusivity in membership and membership policy and the existence and fairness of any grievance mechanisms relating to membership exclusions
- the equity of access for members to programming air-time and the existence of structures including a grievance mechanism, designed to allocate air-time fairly
- the flexibility of the applicant’s programming policy and format so as to allow new sources of programming to be incorporated
- the diversity and currency of programming to meet the needs of the local community, and
- the right of the community to take part in a broad range of activities involved in the operation and management of the service.
If ACMA decides to extend the trial for a further period at the end of a trial period, it may require a trial operator to demonstrate continued compliance with the condition that the licence only be used ‘to provide an open narrowcasting television service for community and educational non-profit purposes’, and the matters set out above.