First Australian region set to switch to digital-only TV broadcasts

Conroy starts 100-day countdown until Mildura moves completely to digital TV

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has launched a 100-day countdown for the town of Mildura's complete switch over to digital TV.

The Mildura Sunraysia region, located within Victoria and NSW, is set to be the first region in Australia to convert entirely to digital-only free-to-air television. The digital TV switchover started in recent months and is expected to be completed by June 30.

“Households in Mildura Sunraysia already lead the way in getting ready for digital TV, with 85 per cent of households already converted at the end of January 2010,” said Conroy.

Eligible households in the area can receive help from the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme to make the transition. The scheme offers free set-top boxes and installation.

"Approximately 7000 potentially eligible households in the Sunraysia/Mildura TV licence area have received letters inviting them to contact Centrelink if they want to participate in the Household Assistance Scheme," said Andy Townend, executive director of the Government’s Digital Switchover Taskforce.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has revealed that renters in the Mildura Sunraysia area would not be eligible for cable and external antenna upgrades. Anyone renting a household property will be provided with an internal antenna and necessary cabling, although most households will not require upgrades.

The federal Government is also funding a new satellite service to support digital transmission to areas outside the range of land-based digital television transmitters, set to be available around a month before the digital switchover date. Digital free-to-air TV signals will completely replace analog signals between 2010 and 2013.

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Tags Senator Stephen ConroyMinister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economydigital tvfederal government

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