Media release 55/2012 – 17 August
ACMA licenses digital self-help retransmission services in remote Australia as part of the switchover to digital television services.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has licensed digital self-help retransmission services at 40 sites in regional and remote Australia as part of the switchover to digital television services across the country. Self-help retransmission services are often provided by local councils in areas where TV broadcasters don’t have established transmitters or where reception isn’t adequate.
Digital switchover is occurring progressively around Australia and the last analog television services will be turned off by the end of 2013. The ACMA is working with government, broadcasters and local communities, including self-help providers of retransmission services, to ensure that all Australian have access to high quality digital television services.
Residents in self-help areas who are not able to receive terrestrial television services also have the option to receive digital services from the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST). This is a direct-to-home satellite service that provides the full suite of commercial and national digital television services. Where self-help providers such as local councils have elected to provide terrestrial retransmission services, residents are not eligible for the satellite subsidy scheme which partially funds the installation of the equipment required to receive the VAST service direct to their homes.
These self-help providers have undertaken to comply with guidelines developed by the ACMA which ensure that retransmitted services will provide the same range and quality of digital television enjoyed by viewers across Australia. The guidelines also help digital switchover for viewers by requiring retransmission services to be provided in an MPEG-2 compression format that can be received on all digital TVs and set top boxes.
Councils and other self-help providers should not swap over to a digital retransmission service until they have verified that the service is fully compliant with regulatory requirements. The ACMA has received reports about non-compliant retransmission services in some areas and is investigating both adverse impacts on viewers and compliance by self-help providers. The ACMA will take enforcement action against self help providers to ensure all residents of remote communities are able receive the same quality of digital television services. Enforcement options available to the ACMA, include warning notices, infringement (penalty) notices and prosecution.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.