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Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

ANAO Audit Report No.55

ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 32

1. Background and Context This chapter provides the context for the Digital Television SwitchoverHousehold Assistance Scheme. The audit objective, criteria and methodology are also outlined. Introduction 1.1 Digital television broadcasts in Australia commenced in simulcast (alongside existing analog channels) in metropolitan areas in January 2001. In 2008, the Australian Government committed to a progressive timetable to switch‐off analog television broadcasting services across Australia and move to digital‐only television broadcasting during the period from 2010 to 2013. 15 1.2 The switchover from analog to digital television is expected to provide all Australians with access to superior television services in terms of choice, services, accessibility, usability and improved picture quality. A successful digital switchover is also important to allow spectrum to be used more efficiently. 16 The closure of analog television broadcasts will allow spectrum to be ‘re‐stacked’ to provide a digital dividend in line with that achieved in major developed countries. 17 This re‐stacking will enable the spectrum to be made available to new users and generate significant revenue for the Australian Government. 1.3 In 2007, the Government announced the establishment of the Digital Switchover Taskforce (DST) in the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) to oversee and coordinate the Digital Television Switchover (DTS) initiative. The DST is responsible for: providing advice to government on policy settings and implementation issues relating to the digital switchover; implementing a program framework, including switchover timetable; convening meetings of stakeholders, broadcasters, retailers, manufacturers and antenna technicians; and developing an in‐home assistance scheme. 15 Appendix 2 provides information on the digital switchover timetable. 16 Spectrum refers to a continuous range of frequencies within which waves have some specified common characteristic—for example, audio-frequency spectrum and radio-frequency spectrum. 17 Re-stacking involves clearing digital broadcasting services from the digital dividend frequency range and reorganising them more efficiently in the remaining broadcasting spectrum. The digital dividend describes the radio-frequency spectrum that will become available when the transmission of analog television signals ceases in 2013. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 33

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