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Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Design

Design of the delivery model 2.4 DBCDE developed the interim pilot proposal and the full project submission simultaneously, providing broad delivery options for the design and delivery of the scheme to the IDC between May and July 2008. The IDC assessed a range of different scheme design options, including in‐home assistance, vouchers and rebates, potential eligibility and roles and responsibilities. 2.5 The Digital Switchover Taskforce (DST) 40 commissioned the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network to conduct research to identify potential issues faced by people who could receive government assistance from an in‐home assistance package. The research indicated that the barriers to switchover were not financial, but practical in nature, and that the vast majority of Australia’s 8.5 million households would make the switch to digital television by themselves, simply and at low expense. 2.6 The IDC also considered international experience, including from the US where a voucher system was used, and the UK where a pilot was implemented and followed by a staged region‐by‐region approach. This international experience informed the IDC’s decision‐making. 2.7 An in‐home scheme of assistance was preferred by the IDC over the options of cash payments, vouchers or subsidies. The other options did not address the target population’s lack of technical expertise, and social or regional isolation. In addition, providing households with set‐top boxes (STBs), without installation assistance or training, would not provide assurance to the Government that target households had successfully converted to digital television. 40 DST, within DBCDE, is responsible for coordinating and overseeing Australia’s transition to digital television from analog television. DST is responsible for: providing advice to government on policy settings and implementation issues connected with the digital switchover; implementing a program framework, including switchover timetable; and convening meetings consisting of stakeholders, broadcasters, retailers, manufacturers and antenna technicians. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 48

Refinements to design options Scheme Design and Implementation 2.8 In the final stages of developing the design options, the IDC agreed on four final options to be included in the proposal to government. 41 All design options developed for consideration by the Government proposed a region‐by‐ region delivery model with government‐engaged service contractors separately contracted in each region. Each rollout would commence six months before the specified switchover date, as pre‐determined by the broader switchover timetable. The six month window was to allow those that required assistance with time to opt‐in and receive assistance. The lead in time was a design feature that allowed those with family support systems to self convert to digital television without the need for assistance. The timeframe also allowed for competition and economies of scale, as well as providing for experiences and lessons learned from each region to be used to inform future rollouts. 2.9 On 12 December 2008, the Government agreed to the interim package of measures for the switchover to digital television in the Mildura/Sunraysia region. This region was chosen as the pilot area, as it provided a suitable test market, with an already high level of digital take‐up, with over 70 per cent of households already converted to digital‐only broadcasting. DBCDE received $2.49 million in funding to deliver HAS assistance in the Mildura/Sunraysia area, with the switchover window scheduled for 1 January to 30 June 2010. The experience gained from the Mildura/Sunraysia switchover was to be applied to the future rollouts across Australia. HAS design parameters 2.10 The preferred option included a targeted safety net of practical assistance for more than 1.9 million households across Australia where at least one person is in receipt of the maximum level of aged pension, disability support pension, carers payment and equivalent DVA payments. This option would provide, at no cost to eligible households, the supply, installation and demonstration of a HD STB and, where necessary and eligible, cabling and antenna services, or satellite services. 41 The four options included: providing assistance to people receiving the maximum level of aged pension, disability support pension, carers payment and equivalent DVA payments; all recipients of the aforementioned payments (minimum to maximum); recipients of the maximum of all pensions and allowances, including long-term Newstart and youth allowance, and low income card holders; or all holders of pensioner concession cards and health care cards. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 49

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