Ben Grubb ben at techwiredau.com
Wed Jan 6 11:56:33 AEDT 2010

There was more than one thing announced yesterday.

Conroy prepares for wireless spectrum sale

Ben Grubb
0414 197 508

On 06/01/2010, at 10:06 AM, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:

> http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,,26556120-3102,00.html
> by Emma Chalmers  January 06, 2010 12:00am
> ALL Australian homes will have access to 16 free digital TV channels 
> within the next four years under a plan to bring satellite coverage to 
> the regions.
> The Federal Government yesterday announced a satellite service for 
> viewers in regional blackspot areas as part of the analog signal switch-
> off at the end of 2013.
> Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the satellite signal ˆ which 
> will cost $40 million a year ˆ was both a safety net and a future-
> proofing measure to cater for population growth.
> "Our commitment is to ensure that all Australians get access to the same 
> level of services," he said yesterday.
> "All regional Australians will now receive the same television services 
> as people in the cities."
> About 247,000 Australians are not reached by a broadcaster-run TV tower 
> and 155,000 of those rely on local council-run services many of which, he 
> said, were held together with "sticky tape".
> Under the plan, the TV broadcasters have agreed to upgrade 100 of the 600 
> local council towers to provide homeowners with digital TV via a set-top 
> box.
> Residents in areas not upgraded will be able to get a satellite service 
> and receive a $300 subsidy to pay half of the cost of installing a 
> satellite dish.
> The list of sites to be upgraded is under negotiation between the 
> Government and broadcasters.
> Pensioners who need to install a set-top box will also get in-home 
> assistance from the Government.
> Homes in blackspot areas will have to pay the full $600 cost, but the 
> Government is not sure as yet how many will be affected.
> "When they flick the switch it will be come apparent because you'll have 
> a blank screen," Senator Conroy said.
> The first Queensland regions to make the digital switch from mid-2011 
> will be Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba.
> Senator Conroy said regional Australians would still be able to watch 
> local news services with a dedicated local channel included in the 
> transmission.
> "Digital television means new channels and new content and better sound 
> and better picture quality," he said.
> The switch-off will also allow the Government to potentially reap more 
> than a billion dollars from the sale of the remaining wireless spectrum, 
> which will be auctioned off before 2013.
> Senator Conroy said it was an "important national asset" and its auction 
> was a "once in a generation opportunity" for new communications services.
> The US spectrum sold at auction for $US19 billion ($A21 billion).
> --
> Cheers,
> Stephen
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