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Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Welcome to Australia's digital-only television era

10 December 2013

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Minister for Communications

Today Australia achieves an historic switchover from analog to digital-only television. This is the biggest change in Australian broadcasting since the introduction of colour television almost 40 years ago.

The last of Australia's analog free-to-air television signals are switching off today in Melbourne and communities in Remote Central and Eastern Australia.

Now over 8 million households from Broome to Lord Howe Island, from Darwin to Hobart, and everywhere in between, are able to watch digital-only free-to-air television.

Digital television brings better picture and sound quality, and an unprecedented choice of 17 free-to-air channels. It also frees up broadcasting spectrum for a range of new services such as mobile broadband.

For the first time, people living in remote areas of Australia can enjoy the same television services as city viewers. The Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) has delivered digital television to over 163,500 households in locations that do not receive a terrestrial signal. Some 34,000 of these installations have been provided through the Satellite Subsidy Scheme, including 14,500 installations without cost for households in remote Indigenous communities.

For people receiving the full-rate of certain government pensions, the Household Assistance Scheme has converted over 318,000 households to digital television. Assistance schemes will remain open for Melbourne and communities in Remote Central and Eastern Australia until 10 January next year.

For conversion to digital-only television, attach a set-top box or digital recorder to your analog television, or upgrade to a digital television with built-in digital tuner.

Following the switchover, television channels in Melbourne will move to a new location on the spectrum and viewers will need to retune their digital television equipment on 7 February 2014.

Information and help is still available on the website www.digitalready.gov.au or by calling the Digital Ready Information Line 1800 20 10 13.

*Note to editor:

The analog signal will switch off in Melbourne at 9am AEDT. In Remote Central and Eastern Australia, switch off will occur at the following times:
Queensland 9am (AEST); Northern Territory 8.30am (ACST); parts of South Australia 9.30am (ACDT) and parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania at 10am (AEDT)
Information, maps, statistics, video and audio grabs, B roll and images, are located at
http://media.digitalready.gov.au

Media inquiries: (02)  6271 1777
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