- What is out of area reception?
- Who can apply?
- What do I need to do?
- How do I find out the status of the application?
- How long will the ACMA take to process the application?
- Contact information
- Access to Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) services
Out-of-area reception is where householders in circumstances of poor or no reception of the local free-to-air commercial television services, can gain access to two commercial satellite television services via a satellite dish and decoder box connected to a television receiver. Permission may be given by the ACMA to the relevant commercial satellite television licensees to provide their services to a household within a commercial terrestrial licence area.
Commercial broadcasting services are only permitted to serve their licence area, which is a specific geographic area, prescribed with their licence. While reception outside of the licence area can occur with terrestrially based broadcasting services, this is regarded as fortuitous reception. Such reception cannot occur with commercial satellite services as the signal is encrypted and reception can only be obtained when the satellite broadcaster enables the receiver decoder if the viewer is within the licence area or out-of-area reception has been approved.
Without ACMA approval, the reception of free-to-air commercial satellite television in a commercial terrestrial licence area is not permitted. The free-to-air commercial satellite broadcasters may take legal action against individuals or businesses that receive the unauthorised reception of the commercial free-to-air satellite services.
No permission is required to gain access to the ABC and SBS television services via satellite. You can gain access to ABC & SBS satellite services by telephone: 1300 301 681. However, it is recommended that applicants hold off purchasing the necessary receiving equipment until approval has been given for the commercial satellite services, unless receiving the ABC & SBS services is justification alone.
Generally, the ACMA will only accept applications for out-of-area reception of commercial television services in relation to viewers who are not eligible to apply to access new VAST satellite service (because they live in areas where switch-over to digital television is more than six months away). This is because all other viewers without adequate reception need to apply to receive digital television services delivered by the VAST service (they do not need out-of-area permission).
The relevant commercial satellite broadcasters in your state can only apply to the ACMA to be given permission to provide their services to a household with poor or no reception that is within a commercial terrestrial licence area.
- Viewers who do not have adequate reception of either analog or digital terrestrial television services should first visit mySwitch website (operated by the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy) to check the coverage of television services at their address.
- Viewers who receive a coverage prediction on mySwitch for their residential address of ‘no coverage’ or ‘no transmitter’ do not have to provide signal measurements taken by a technician. They only need to complete Section 5 of the ACMA B58 out-of-area reception application form, including having their name and address details witnessed.
- Viewers who receive a coverage prediction on mySwitch for their residential address other than ‘no coverage’ or ‘no transmitter’must first engage the services of a reputable antenna installer who must come to their premises to check the reception at their house and take signal strength readings and record the technical details on the ACMA B58 out-of-area reception application form - (Assessment of Inadequate Reception of Broadcasting Services - available from website or contact us). The antenna installer/technician must sign the statutory declaration to say that the details on the form are true and correct. To complete the ACMA B58, the affected viewer/listener will complete Section 5 and sign and date. The antenna installer/technician will need to complete Sections 4, 6 and 7 of the ACMA B58.
- The applicant commercial satellite broadcaster will complete Section 1, 2 and 3 of the ACMA B58.
- Viewers who intend to receive VAST satellite services should only complete one copy of the form and send it to either Imparja or Seven Central. Viewers who wish to receive Aurora satellite services will need to complete a separate application form for both Imparja and Seven Central.
- Once the viewer/listener and antenna installer have completed the appropriate sections (Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7), send the ACMA B58(s) to the commercial satellite broadcaster(s) addresses listed below. (Do not send any copies to the ACMA).
- The two commercial satellite broadcaster(s) will examine the form(s), and if satisfied they will submit their application to the ACMA for approval.
- If your application is successful, and you wish to receive VAST services, you will receive a unique approval number which you will need to enter on the online form when applying for VAST on mySwitch website. You will also need to purchase a suitable satellite dish and VAST receiver. The antenna installer/technician should be able to provide you with details of costs and suitable equipment. The Digital Switchover Taskforce administers two assistance programs – the Household Assistance Scheme and the Satellite Subsidy Scheme which assist with the costs of satellite equipment for eligible viewers. Please refer to the mySwitch website for information about these programs and the relevant eligibility criteria.
- If you wish to receive Aurora satellite services, you will need to purchase a suitable satellite dish and Aurora receiver. The antenna installer/technician should be able to provide you with details of costs and suitable equipment. Please note that there is no government rebate or subsidy for the purchase of Aurora satellite equipment and that it is expected that this service will be decommissioned at the end of 2013.
You can check on the status of your application by contacting the satellite broadcaster(s).
Processing time for applications is usually within 6 weeks. The ACMA will begin assessing the ACMA B58 application form as soon as it is received from the satellite broadcaster(s).
Under the Out-of-Area guidelines, the ACMA is required to notify the relevant terrestrial commercial broadcaster(s) of any applications received which is relevant to their licence area and to allow the broadcaster 28 days to register any objections to the ACMA granting permission to the satellite broadcaster(s).
Further information can also be obtained from the ACMA on 1300 850 115.
Addresses of Commercial Satellite Broadcasters
For Residents of Central and Eastern States only
(Send ACMA B58 forms to Imparja and Seven Central - do not send forms to the ACMA)
Imparja Television: provides programming from the Channel Nine and Ten Networks. For more details on the programming available please contact the broadcaster.
Southern Cross Television Central: provides programming from the Channel Seven Network. For more details on the programming available please contact the broadcaster.
For residents of Western Australia only:
(Send ACMA B58 forms to GWN and WIN - do not send forms to the ACMA)
Golden West Network Pty Ltd (GWN Television)
PO Box 112
BUNBURY WA 6231
Phone: (08) 9721 4466
Fax: (08) 9792 2932
GWN Television: provides programming from the Channel Seven Network. For more details on the programming available please contact the broadcaster.
PO Box 1010
MIRRABOOKA WA 6914
Phone: (08) 9345 5990
Fax: (08) 9345 9991
WIN Television: provides programming from the Channel Nine and Ten Networks. For more details on the programming available please contact the broadcaster.
The VAST satellite service is available to viewers who cannot receive adequate reception of terrestrial digital television services available in their licence area. If a viewer can already receive terrestrial digital television services, they will not be given access to VAST.
There is a staggered timeframe for different regions in Eastern Australia to access commercial digital television services on VAST:
- viewers who live in the remote licence areas can apply to access the VAST service now;
- viewers in regional and metropolitan licence areas who cannot receive adequate reception of terrestrial digital television services may apply for access to VAST, but must wait until six months before switchover in their area. This is because, even though terrestrial digital services may not currently be available in the area, it is still possible that broadcasters will extend such services to that area before switchover.
If a viewer cannot receive adequate reception of terrestrial digital television services and their region is due to switchover within six months, they may apply for VAST now. Applications can be made through mySwitch.
Viewers in regional and metropolitan licence areas who are unable to receive adequate reception of both analog and digital terrestrial services can apply at any time to a relevant remote commercial broadcaster (Imparja or Southern Cross Media for Eastern Australia) and the ACMA for permission to receive that broadcaster’s services ‘out-of-area’ by satellite. This permission can be granted at any time and is not linked to the switchover date for the viewer’s licence area. Viewers who obtain such permission can then apply to access the VAST service immediately.
Any viewer can also access the ABC and SBS on the VAST service at any time. They do this by applying through mySwitch and ticking the box for ABC and SBS, rather than the full suite of services (which includes the commercial services).