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Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

HAS expenditure 5.9 As

HAS expenditure 5.9 As originally announced, the budgets for all three phases of the Scheme to the end of December 2013 totalled $381.4 million. 94 As at 1 March 2012, DBCDE expenditure totals $37 million under the Scheme, which represents 9.7 per cent of the budgeted amount. This relatively low level of expenditure, to date, reflects the: � small population areas that have been serviced by the Scheme to date— metropolitan regions with significantly higher populations are currently scheduled to switchover in 2013; � lower‐than‐expected take‐up rate of the ‘safety net’ assistance offered under the Scheme; and � conservative approach taken by the DBCDE when developing budgets for rollouts. Cost of HAS service types by rollout 5.10 A basic HAS service includes: the delivery and installation of a HD STB specially designed for the Scheme for use by older and disabled people; cabling from the STB to the antenna socket; STB and remote control; tuning and set‐up; instruction given to the customer on how to use equipment in the home and guidance material; and a 12 month after‐care and warranty package on all equipment and services, including access to a call centre helpline for the duration of the Scheme. 5.11 The lowest costs are typically incurred where customers are delivered a HD STB to their home and decline the installation services, but receive the other services offered as part of the assistance package, such as the after‐care and warranty service, and access to the telephone help‐line operated by the service contractors. Complex HAS installations typically include all services described, and the delivery and installation of a satellite dish and cabling for remote‐area use or installation of an antenna and cabling. 5.12 The cost of HAS installations varies considerably, due to a range of factors, including: existing cabling and equipment; existing external cabling 94 As a demand driven program, any funds not required have been, and will be, returned to consolidated revenue. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 112

Scheme performance and Reporting and antenna (for eligible customers); and additional factors such as signal strength, orientation, topography and degree of remoteness. 5.13 During the development and design of the Scheme in late‐2008, the cost of an HD STB (box only) suitable for customers targeted by HAS, was estimated to be $100. At that time, the cost of a basic STB was between $40 and $200. When determining the cost of a HD STB for disabled or older users, the department determined that it was not appropriate to provide customers with a basic model. A range of other issues were identified for the demographic most in need of practical assistance, most significantly, the option to include closed caption capabilities, and easy‐to‐use menus and remote controls. Further, the need to insulate customers against future platform changes meant that $100 was considered an appropriate basis for costing the core STB technology underpinning the Scheme. The department considered that a less expensive STB, not capable of being upgraded easily as improvements in technology emerged, would subsequently incur additional costs to government. 5.14 Based on the UK Help Scheme switchover experience, DBCDE estimated antenna and cabling work at between $300 (low‐gain antenna) and $700 (high‐gain antenna) per installation for parts and labour. The cost, including parts and labour, of providing a full satellite assistance package to remote areas was estimated to be $1200. Table 5.1 outlines the indicative costs of HAS installations across the early rollouts of the Scheme, up to and including the Regional Queensland rollout. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 113

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