Australia's digital switchover date confirmed

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, today confirmed that the first firm steps had been taken on the road to completing switchover by the end of 2013.

Senator Conroy said that the switchover to digital television was important to all Australians because it offers benefits to viewers such as improved picture and sound quality and greater program choice. It will also make spectrum available for alternate uses such as new mobile services, a fourth television licence and wireless broadband services.

“We are moving quickly to maximise the benefits for all Australians and keep pace with the rest of the world,” Senator Conroy said.

“Setting a firm date of 2013 for the switchover from analogue to digital television transmission in Australia has given industry the certainty it needs to drive consumer uptake of digital television.

“Until now, industry has had no declared end date and has been unable to plan effectively for digital television,”

“I have established a Digital Switchover Taskforce in the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), to be headed by Andy Townend, to drive the work necessary to deliver switchover by 2013.

“The Taskforce will work closely with industry and report back to me with a comprehensive switchover timetable in the third quarter of 2008,” Senator Conroy said.

The Government has also moved quickly to amend the previous Government’s date of December 2008 to commence digital-only television transmissions in metropolitan markets.

“This is clearly an impossible date for both viewers and industry. The Government has inherited a digital take up rate of approximately 30 per cent and will now work with industry to ensure that all Australians are prepared for digital television.

“Accordingly, I have amended the date for commencement of digital only transmission in metropolitan markets to December 2009. This will allow time for the Taskforce and industry to develop a detailed switchover timetable for all of Australia.”