Regional Victoria switches off analog

05 May, 2011 by IF

Press Release for The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today said households across regional Victoria had made the switch to digital-only free-to-air-television broadcasting as part of Australia’s transition to digital TV.


"Around 455,000 households in regional Victoria now receive digital-only TV following the shutdown of analog television signals," Senator Conroy said.

"The switch off of analog TV in regional Victoria is a significant milestone in Australia’s switchover to digital-only television by 2013."

Analog TV broadcasting commenced in regional Victoria in 1961 and ended at nine o’clock this morning when analog services from 66 transmitter sites were switched off for good.

"Regional Victoria is the largest switchover to date, following on from Mildura/Sunraysia on 30 June last year, and areas of regional South Australia and Broken Hill in December 2010," Senator Conroy said.

While most households in regional Victoria receive their digital TV from broadcaster-operated towers, some communities that previously relied on local analog ‘self help’ transmitters or could not receive terrestrial signals have moved to the new Government-funded VAST satellite.

"The introduction of VAST, and the upgrading and introduction of new terrestrial transmitters by broadcasters, is providing all regional Victorian households with access to the same number of digital TV channels as is available in Melbourne," Senator Conroy said.

Victorian Senator David Feeney attended the switchover event in Mt Tassie today and said the move to digital-only had broken down the divide between the city and the bush when it came to the range of choice for free to air television.

Around 25,000 households have been converted to digital TV through the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme, which provides eligible households with the supply, installation and demonstration of a high definition set top box.

"The Scheme will be available for another month so eligible households – including those who receive the full rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement – who need some extra practical assistance are not left behind in the switchover to digital TV," Senator Feeney said.

"Helping regional Victorian households get ready for the change has involved a major coordinated effort by Government, broadcasters, industry and local communities.

"Almost all households will have been ready for the switchover to digital only TV this morning, but there may be a very small percentage who might still need to convert their analog TV sets to digital.

"We will continue to work with local communities to help them make the switch," Senator Feeney said.

Senator Feeney said additional staff had been deployed to the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13 to help respond to post-switchover inquiries, including questions about how to improve digital TV reception.

Additional advice is also available on some of the more common reception issues in different areas of regional Victoria to assist households to get the best possible digital TV reception.

Regional Queensland is the next region to switchover to digital only TV, on 6 December 2011