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Nick Minchin

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Liberal Senator for South Australia
Nick Minchin


Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

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Digital switch-over challenges aheadEmail this pageBack

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Printer Friendly Version

Letter to the Editor, Australian Financial Review, 23 February 2009

Digital switch-over challenges ahead Research conducted by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's own agency, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, highlights the challenges the government has ahead of it to ensure our nation is adequately prepared for the switch-over to digital television.

Conroy has set a staged switch-over schedule, which will start in rural and regional Australia in 2010 and finish in the major cities by the end of 2013. Setting the deadlines is the easy part, the real challenge is ensuring communities receive all the support they need to be properly prepared.

ACMA's study, 'Household Television Environment Research 2007-2008', observed that many households have old antenna systems which are in poor condition and have limited knowledge about what is required to make the switch-over. Many households also have multiple televisions, including a high number of analog sets that will require set-top boxes.

ACMA noted that sound advice and awareness will need to be a key element of the government's switch-over program.

Black-spot identification and rectification is also another issue that needs to be dealt with and the reality is black spots may emerge only once the analog signal is switched off.

Clearly, the Rudd government will need to provide significant additional resources and funding for digital switch-over to ensure Australian viewers are not disenfranchised as a result of inadequate preparation and support.

Nick Minchin Opposition spokesman on communications Canberra ACT

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