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Australia experience with digital television transition

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					Australia’s experience with
digital television transition

Chris Cheah
Authority Member, Australian
Communications and Media Authority
Overview

Australia’s television and regulatory
 environment
A brief history
Current Tasks and Challenges
Thinking about the future
Australia’s television environment – some base demographics



                              Population           22 million

                              Households           8.5 million

                              .. with FTA TV       8.4 million

                              .. % Digital         82%

                              .. % with Pay TV     28%
Australia’s television environment – providers

> Two publicly funded (‘national’) broadcasters : ABC, SBS
> Three national commercial television networks : 7, 9 and Ten
   > Mainly syndicated via regional providers, underpinned by
      “aggregation” policy dating from the 1980s
        > 69 commercial licences in total
   > Currently offering 5 analog but 15 digital channels
> 2 large subscription television providers : Foxtel and AUSTAR – in
  merger talks
> Indigenous broadcast television provider (Imparja) in parts of
  remote Australia
> 81 Community (mainly very local) television licences
> Some smaller subscription and “narrowcast” servicers
 Australia’s television environment – regulatory players

                                  MINISTER FOR BROADBAND, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
                                                     Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
  Content                                                                                                                  Carriage
                                                                    POLICY ADVICE
                                                      Department of Broadband, Communications
  INDUSTRY BODIES WITH                                         & the Digital Economy                                   INDUSTRY BODIES WITH
CO-REGULATORY FUNCTIONS                                                                                              CO-REGULATORY FUNCTIONS
     Free TV Australia
   (Commercial Television                                                                                                Telecommunications
      Industry Body)                                                                                                  Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
                                                      GOVERNMENT             REGULATORS

      Commercial Radio                          Australian Communications and Media Authority
                                                                  (ACMA)                                                   Communications
       Australia (CRA)
                                                                                                                              Alliance
    Australian Subscription
   TV and Radio Association
                                                                                  Australian Competition
                                         NET ALERT
           (ASTRA)                                                              and Consumer Commission
                                     (Government owned
                                                                                          (ACCC)
                                     Internet Community
  Community Broadcasting                Advisory Body)
   Association of Australia
          (CBAA)
                                                                    OPERATORS
                                                                                  •Carriers
                                       •National Broadcasters
 Internet Industry Association                                                    •Telephone Service Providers
                                       •Commercial Broadcasters
              (IIA)                                                               •Internet Service Providers
                                       •Community Broadcasters
                                                                                  •Broadcast Transmission
                                       •Subscription Broadcasters
                                                                                   Providers
                                       •Narrowcasters




                      Industry User Groups                              USERS                            Consumer Groups
 ACMA’s main broadcasting functions
 Spectrum regulator – including planning of
  broadcasting spectrum
 Allocation, renewal, suspension and cancellation of
  broadcasting licences and the collection of licence fees
 Oversight of ownership and control rules, including
  public registers
 Oversee content rules in legislation, licence conditions
  and industry codes of practice
 Establishing program standards (Australian content,
  children, advertising)
 Investigations of complaints
 Advice to Government
A brief history of digital television transition


Two main waves of government decisions

> Wave 1 : Late 1990s to 2002

> Wave 2 : ~2007 to now

  Also some important parallel activities about the
  convergent and broadband future.
Government decisions wave 1 – Late 1990s-2002
> Introduction of digital television as an addition to analog – via a
  long introductory period (minimum 8 years)
   > Commencement in metro areas 1 January 2001, Regional
      areas by 2004
   > ~$250 million to assist national and regional broadcasters
      invest in infrastructure and major planning exercise
   > clear aim of releasing spectrum at some point for a digital
      dividend
> 7 MHz channels
   > ostensibly to support HDTV options (hence an HDTV quota)
   > but capable of supporting more SD multi-channelling, albeit
      delayed
> Use of DVB-T technology
> Principle of “same coverage”
> Datacasting channel (defunct)
Government decisions wave 2 – From 2007 to now
>   Locked in a serious switch off date (31 December 2013)
>   Related decisions about how digital dividend
>   Set a staged national switchover plan
>   Government funded education campaign, including tools to assist
    viewers
>   Government funded household assistance scheme (HAS) to
    subsidise equipment to particular vulnerable viewers
>   Government funded satellite transmission scheme (VAST) to
    provide a safety net of national coverage
     > including satellite equipment subsidy scheme
>   Planning principle of “restacking” to yield digital dividend spectrum
>   Government funded research to monitor digital takeup area-by-
    area, and the digital tracker
                                                            The switchover timetable



                                                                                                                                               KEY
                                                                                                                                              First Half
                                                                                                                                                2010

                                                                                                                                             Second Half
                                                                                                                                                2010

                                                                                                                                              First Half
                                                                                                                                                2011

                                                                                                                                             Second Half
                                                                                                                                                2011

                                                                                                                                              First Half
                                                                                                                                                2012

                                                                                                                                             Second Half
                                                                                                                                                2012

                                                                                                                                              First Half
                                                                                                                                                2013

                                                                                                                                             Second Half
                                                                                                                                                2013

                                                                                                                                              Satellite




http://agencysearch.australia.gov.au/search/search.cgi?query=radiofrequency+allocations+chart&collection=agencies&form=simple&profile=acma
              http://www.digitalready.gov.au



http://www.digitalready.gov.au/Home.aspx
  Current Analog & Digital channels during simulcast
                          Newcastle, Sydney, Illawarra
45-52 MHz                137-144 MHz
56-70 MHz   85-108 MHz   174-230 MHz    526-582 MHz       582-820 MHz


  BI BII   BIII                          BIV               BV
 Newcastle


 Central Coast
 Sydney

 Illawarra


 Others

KEY             Analog channels        Digital channels
                                                                               6 channel block
                                                                    Newcastle, Sydney, Illawarra
45-52 MHz                137-144 MHz
56-70 MHz 85-108 MHz     174-230 MHz     526-582 MHz                                582-820 MHz


  BI BII   BIII                           BIV                                           BV
 Newcastle


 Central Coast
 Sydney

 Illawarra



                          Block A        Block B          Block C   Block D   Block E




KEY                    DAB +           Digital Channels
                                                          Yielding the Digital Dividend:
                                            The Restack and Reallocation Processes
                                                                                                                    Restack
                                                                                                                   completed
                                                                                    Broadcasters relocate to new
                                                                                         digital TV channels
                                                                Broadcasters start to plan
                                                             infrastructure & new equipment
                                                             Analog switch off
                                            Digital TV restack planning
                      Restack legislative
                        amendments



                                                Mid 2012                 Mid 2013                 End 2014
                                                                                End
        Start 2010                                                              2013

   Digital Dividend
    Green Paper                                  Recom’
                                               to Minister
Minister’s media release                              Ministerial
                                                     Declaration
            Ministerial Direction
                  Discussion Paper          Allocation Instruments                         Issue Licences
                                                                              Spectrum                              Spectrum
                                             Technical Framework               Auction                              available
                                                                                                                     for use

    KEY                Minister               ACMA                  Broadcasters         DBCDE
Some success factors?

 Certainty : timetables, technology
 Linkages between outcomes : digital switchover and
  digital dividend
 Well thought out incentives
 Real benefits : Digital clearly better than analog (more
  channels, better quality picture)
 Good communication, about benefits and
  consequences
 Addressing sources of criticism, but with an eye to the
  future
Some parallel regulatory developments
>   Changing ownership and control regulation
>   Multichannelling policy
>   Classification, parental locks and EPGs
>   The outer boundaries of “narrowcasting”
>   Sports rights and the anti-siphoning list
>   What to do about mobile television?
>   “Datacasting” policy
Thinking about the future of “television” – issues
> Evolving standards : MPEG4 and all that
> Evolving capabilities : 3D, increasing HD, interactivity
> Other content services, and substitutes
   > IPTV, VOD, and broadband
> Damaged concepts : What is a “television” “program”?
> Relentless spectrum demand
   > Mobile data, refarming, “whitespace”
> Where to with the “quid pro quo” ?
> Role of traditional broadcasting objectives : quality,
  choice, Australian content, localism, ownership and
  influence, community standards, captioning, children
Thinking about the future of television – current
processes
> During 2011 three content-related reviews : a
  Convergence Review; a media inquiry; and a review of
  classification arrangements
> 2009 Government decision to fund a National
  Broadband Network – a paradigm shift in play
> ACMA discussion starter on the future of television
  following switchover
> ACMA and other research www.acma.gov.au

				
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