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Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Australian households

Australian households had already converted to free‐to‐air digital television broadcasts. 3 4. As at 1 March 2012, the DTS initiative had been rolled out to the Mildura/Sunraysia pilot region (June 2010), Regional South Australia and Broken Hill (December 2010), Regional Victoria (May 2011) and Regional Queensland (December 2011). 4 The switchover in Regional New South Wales is scheduled to conclude in November 2012, with the switchover of Tasmania and major metropolitan and remote areas to occur in 2013. The regional switchover timetable was implemented back‐to‐back, that is, six monthly switchover windows per region, with the design to allow for lessons learned and improvements to scheme delivery to be incorporated into future rollouts as the initiative progresses, culminating in the final year’s multiple consecutive switchovers. 5. The DTS initiative provides funding 5 for a number of interdependent components: � a communications program to help raise awareness, understanding and support television viewers as they plan, prepare for, and make the transition to digital‐only television ($59.1 million over July 2009–December 2011); � the Satellite Subsidy Scheme (SSS) to provide a satellite conversion subsidy to eligible households currently served by ‘self‐help’ transmission sites that are not upgraded to digital by broadcasters ($99.1 million over 2010–13) 6 ; � the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) program to ensure digital television signals are available in areas of signal deficiency (black spots) ($375.4 million over 12 years); and � the Household Assistance Scheme (HAS), which is the focus of this audit, to provide practical end‐to‐end technical and installation services 3 Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Digital Tracker Report, Quarter 4 October to December 2011, pp. i–ii. 4 The geographical areas for determining switchover are based on licence areas for commercial television broadcasting services. 5 The funding amounts for each component represent the announced funding. These amounts have been revised as the DTS has progressed. 6 Self-help transmission sites are located mainly in regional and remote areas of Australia and are designed to obtain, or improve, analog television reception in areas unable to obtain adequate reception from existing broadcaster-operated transmission sites. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 14

Summary (including antenna, cabling, set‐top boxes (STBs) and satellite access, where warranted) to eligible Australians receiving the maximum amount of specified government pensions, payments and supplements ($381.4 million over 2009 to 2013–14). 7 Household Assistance Scheme 6. HAS—previously known as the Household Assistance Program—is the largest component of the DTS initiative. The objective of HAS is: to provide practical and technical assistance to those who are most likely to have significant difficulties in selecting and installing the appropriate equipment to switch to digital television. 7. The establishment of HAS was in recognition that, for some Australians, switching to digital television would not be a simple or a straight‐forward task. HAS provides a targeted safety net of practical assistance for approximately 1.9 million potentially eligible households across Australia where at least one person is in receipt of the maximum amount of the: age pension; disability support pension; carer payment; Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) service pension; or DVA income support supplement. Only those potentially eligible households that have not already converted to digital television, and who have a working television, are eligible for assistance under HAS. 8. It is expected that many of the potentially eligible customers will have self‐converted to digital television broadcasting before the Scheme opens in each region six to nine months ahead of switchover. In this light, HAS is viewed as a safety‐net Scheme, providing support to those eligible in the community who have yet to switch to viewing digital‐only television. Provision of services under HAS 9. HAS provides, at no cost to eligible customers, the supply, installation and demonstration of a high definition (HD) STB, with features to meet the needs of the elderly or those with a disability. Depending on individual circumstances, customers may be entitled to receive: � a HD STB; 7 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 15

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