Outback Aussies may go without TV

Budget cuts at the Australian Communications and Media Authority have forced it to suspend a key program to test for digital television black spots.

Budget cuts at the Australian Communications and Media Authority have forced it to suspend a key program to test for digital television black spots, leaving viewers in isolated areas of Australia worried that they may be without TV reception when the analogue signals are switched off.

Six ACMA field offices in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Wodonga are closing, forcing the ACMA to put the signal tests on the back burner due to lack of staff resources.

ACMA spokesman Mr Chapman commented:
“There used to be 10 technical staff in Brisbane to look after southeast Queensland. Now we have four and we have to cover all the areas handled by the closed offices.

“On top of that, ACMA receives more than $8 million from the government to do digital television field strength measurements all over Australia prior to the analogue switch-off in 2013.

“This is to establish just what the problems are going to be — and believe me, there are some real problems.”

Chapman is worried 1000s of Australians could be left without TV reception.

Speaking with the Australian, Julie Flynn, chief executive of CEO Free TV Australia, the free-to-air broadcasters’ lobby group, said she would be very concerned if viewers lost their free-to-air TV services in the switch to digital TV.

Source: The Australian

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