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Latest Satellite News Discussion, Digital TV for bush at General Satellite News forum; David McKenzie January 5, 2010 THE Sunraysia/Mildura region will be the first area to get satellite-based digital television this year ...

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Digital TV for bush - 05-January-2010, 18:59

David McKenzie
January 5, 2010
THE Sunraysia/Mildura region will be the first area to get satellite-based digital television this year as part of a federal government plan to upgrade regional TV services to city standards.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Government was committing $40 million a year over four years to build and operate the new satellite service, potentially benefiting up to 247,000 regional households.

Under an agreement reached with all TV broadcasters across Australia, broadcasters will upgrade more than 100 existing regional analogue "self-help"transmission facilities to operate in digital.

The Government will also fund and build a new digital satellite broadcasting service for regional viewers who are unable to receive digital television from those facilities.

Senator Conroy said the measures were part of Australia’s switchover to digital-only television and would be in place before analogue services were switched off in each regional broadcast license area.

Viewers who rely on "self-help" sites that will be upgraded by broadcasters under this agreement will simply need to install a high definition set-top-box to access a full suite of digital television channels.

Any regional households not able to receive digital television from the upgraded "self-help" sites will be served by the new satellite, which will also carry the full suite of digital channels. To access the new satellite service, these households will need to install a satellite dish.

“The Government will provide a satellite conversion subsidy to eligible households currently served by ‘self-help’ transmission sites which are not upgraded to digital by the broadcasters,” Senator Conroy said.

He said the Government was consulting broadcasters to identify the list of "self-help" sites to be upgraded to digital for announcement in the first half of 2010.

The list will include new digital terrestrial transmitters at Underbool and Ouyen in the Sunraysia/Mildura region, the first license area to switch to digital-only television.

The satellite service for the Sunraysia/Mildura region is expected to commence before June 30, when analogue television services are due to be switched off in that licence area.

“All regional Australians will now receive the same television services as people in the cities,” Senator Conroy said.

“This is a fantastic outcome for people in regional Australia, many of whom have received limited television services for many years.

“This historic decision will dramatically improve the choice and quality of television services for regional Australia as we move towards digital switchover.”

“For the first time all free-to-air digital television services, including the original three commercial and two national channels, as well as new digital services such as ABC2, ABC3, SBS TWO, GO!, 7TWO and ONE HD, will be available to all Australians, no matter where they live.”

“The satellite service will provide regional viewers with access to the local news currently broadcast in their TV licence area via a dedicated local news channel.”
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