Govt Spends $375 Million On Digital TV

  • $308 million on set-top boxes
  • $44 million on advertising
  • Switch over available six months before switch off

The Federal government is about to spend up large to make sure pensioners don’t miss out on the digital television switch over by providing free set top boxes to the eldery.

The 2011-12 Budget provides $376.5 million funding for ongoing assistance, including:

  • $308.8 million for continued support for the Household Assistance Scheme (HAS) into regional New South Wales/ACT, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia and State capital cities, so that eligible pension recipients are provided with the professional assistance they need to convert to digital television.
  • $44.1 million for extending on-the-ground community engagement through localised communication within each switchover area, backed up by advertising campaigns and the comprehensive website.
  • $21.3 million to continue the work of the Digital Switchover Taskforce.
  • $2.4 million to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to continue its coverage evaluation programs.

The 2011-12 Budget provides funding for the HAS until the end of the Digital Switchover program across Australia in December 2013. The HAS will become available in each switchover region six months prior to the switch off of analogue signals, and eligible recipients will receive a letter from Centrelink at that time, inviting them to opt in to the scheme.

The Government also announced it will support the conversion of 59 ABC and or SBS self-help analogue television services across Australia, which includes some assistance towards ongoing costs. An estimated 31,000 households are expected to benefit from having this analogue self-help equipment converted to digital.

The funding in Budget is in addition to funding already provided by the Government for:

  • The Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service which provides a full suite of digital television channels for viewers in remote areas and digital black spots.
  • The Satellite Subsidy Scheme which provides assistance to viewers currently served by analogue community operated ‘self help’ transmitters, to enable them to convert to the VAST service.
  • Supporting broadcasters in regional South Australia and remote areas to provide the full suite of digital TV channels from their terrestrial towers.