Issues in signal-deficient areas | ACMA

Issues in signal-deficient areas

An area-by-area assessment of coverage and reception arrangements in signal deficient areas, including:

  • How are viewers obtaining television services in signal-deficient areas?
  • To what extent is digital television coverage available beyond the boundaries of planned analog coverage?
  • What are the likely causes of specific digital television reception problems?


Even if 'same coverage' is achieved, analog and digital television reception will differ in signal deficient areas. This is because, while analog reception quality gradually degrades as the signal attenuates digital signals are subject to the 'cliff effect' where the picture and sound quality rapidly becomes unwatchable or disappears altogether. The ACMA's early CEP-field-work gave a detailed picture of television reception arrangements in areas outside of planned analog coverage, including the extent of analog reception problems and the expensive solutions employed by individual householders to remedy them. When combined with information about the actual limits of digital terrestrial coverage, this work helps to inform Government programmes for signal-deficient areas and also assists with the development of information products and strategies for householders in affected areas. Information gained from the CEP providesa general understanding of digital reception issues at the limits of coverage and provides information which will assist in enabling the efficient resolution of any future complaints about digital reception problems as they arise.

Key deliverables

  • The CEP gives an overview of existing reception arrangements in signal deficient areas throughout each licence area. This includes the ocations into which out-of-area satellite transmission has been approved, where 'fortuitous reception' of unplanned terrestrial signals re being received and the impacts that switchover will have on those areas;
  • The CEP provides estimates of the extent of any digital television coverage beyond the boundaries of analog coverage, including identification of areas of marginal or inconsistent digital television coverage;
  • As required, the CEP will investigate and report on local digital reception problems. This will enhance the ACMA's ability to target and provide advice on future reception issues as they arise, including:
    • The identification of potential causes of interference to analog and digital terrestrial signals;
    • The identification of local environmental effects on signal reception including terrain, vegetation, buildings and other signal obstructions; and
    • The identification of relevant householder issues, e.g. where existing external antennas may impact on viewer reception.

Last updated: 29 May 2013