SBS SUBMISSION TO SPECTRUM REVIEW

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					                   SUBMISSION TO THE
             DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS,
          INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ARTS



REVIEW OF THE BSB SPECTRUM: IDENTIFICATION AND STRUCTURAL
                       EFFICIENCY




         SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE CORPORATION
                      FEBRUARY 2005
SBS thanks the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
for the opportunity to comment on the Issues Paper relating to the Review of the
Broadcasting Services Bands Spectrum: Identification and Structural Efficiency.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: PROPOSED REGULATORY CHANGES

SBS Television has been established as a national broadcasting service for 25 years,
during which time it has grown from a small experimental service to a full service
received in analogue by the majority of Australians and, more recently, available in
digital to over 90% of Australians.

Over 7 million Australians tune in to watch SBS Television every week. Its audience
growth over the last 10 years is attributable to broad recognition of its distinctive, high
quality, innovative programming. Recognition of its importance in the Australian
broadcasting environment continues to grow; for example, recent Newspoll surveys
indicate that, among other things:

   89% of Australians believe it is important that SBS be available to provide an
    alternative to the commercial TV stations (up from 88.6% in 2002)
   81.3% believe it is important that SBS be available to provide an alternative to ABC
    Television (79.7% in 2002)
   89% agree that SBS has types of programs you would not see on the other stations
    (up from 87.2% in 2002).

It follows that it is a reasonable expectation of all Australians that SBS transmission
should be available as widely as other television broadcasting services and that the
quality of SBS’ transmission should be equivalent to those other services. Despite this,
many Australians in areas covered by SBS still have difficulty receiving SBS or obtaining
good quality reception.

The assumption that equity in SBS coverage and reception quality is an appropriate and
realisable objective underpins the comments and suggestions made in this submission.

This Review provides the opportunity for a reconsideration of the policy framework for
spectrum allocation, to ensure SBS is treated equitably in spectrum allocation as
compared to other television broadcasters and that the public interest objectives in the
Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) and Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (SBS
Act) are met by ensuring that SBS services are available to as many Australians as
possible. It also provides the opportunity to identify how planning processes under the
legislation should enable audiences to receive the best possible quality reception of SBS
Television.

SBS recognises that, for historical reasons, this has not always been possible. The
planning undertaken in the first five years of digital broadcasting has been based on past
assumptions and the learnings from this should be applied in future planning. Digital
broadcasting creates the potential to realise the above objectives.

SBS proposes several changes to the way that spectrum is currently planned and
allocated to help achieve these outcomes:




SBS Submission  Spectrum Review           -2-
UHF/VHF
o Because the free-to-air television market primarily operates on VHF, SBS has been
  disadvantaged in an analogue environment by having its main frequency on UHF.
o As VHF becomes more available or if any VHF spectrum is identified as a result of
  these Reviews (particularly in metropolitan areas), there should be active
  consideration of shifting SBS from UHF to VHF spectrum to enable parity with other
  broadcasters and to simplify reception of SBS for viewers.

Identification of reserved national broadcaster spectrum
o National broadcasting services should be available in all markets.
o There is currently a Ministerial Reservation for one service for SBS, nationwide. As a
   result, SBS digital is planned for in areas where there is an existing analogue
   service. However, in areas where SBS does not have an analogue service, the
   planning processes reserve capacity, but do not currently automatically allocate
   specific spectrum for either a future analogue or future digital service. This means
   that there is no assurance that appropriate, quality spectrum will be available at the
   point of planning the SBS service.
o To ensure that future planning processes are able to accommodate digital planning,
   national broadcaster spectrum reserved by Ministerial Reservation should be
   specifically allocated and reflected in Licence Area Plans and Digital Channel Plans.
   This should ensure that appropriate spectrum, not just spectrum capacity, is
   available to national broadcasters as required.

Single Frequency Networks (SFNs)
o SBS is currently an extremely efficient user of spectrum, being the only broadcaster
   planned for and using ‘pure’ SFNs (1+0 SFNs) as opposed to 1+1 SFNs or MFNs
   used by other broadcasters.
o However, this inconsistency in the way the BSBs have been planned causes
   difficulties in reception of the SBS digital signal, particularly in ‘mush zones’, and also
   creates different ‘mush zones’ for different SFN configurations.
o To minimise reception difficulties for audiences, and ensure equity of treatment
   among broadcasters, future planning that proposes an SFN in any market should
   ensure all broadcasters use the same SFN configuration (including guard interval).
o In markets where SBS has already been planned as the only ‘pure’ SFN
   broadcaster, consideration should be given to providing SBS with capacity to
   broadcast on a 1+1 SFN basis, at least on par with other broadcasters, if further
   spectrum becomes available. For example, this should apply in ‘mush zones’ where
   people who previously had analogue services cannot receive the same broadcaster’s
   digital services with the same antenna configuration.

Achieving ‘same coverage’ as a result of digital conversion
o Achieving a fair and appropriate measure of ‘same coverage’ in digital conversion is
   vital to ensuring that all Australians have access to SBS services when analogue
   switch-off occurs. Audiences should be able to have the same ease of reception for
   SBS wherever they are able to access other broadcasters.
o Because of the unique way in which spectrum is allocated to SBS (especially in
   relation to ‘pure’ SFNs), the difficulties experienced by SBS are at times not the
   same as those of the rest of the industry. As a result, some industry processes
   addressing same coverage are not geared towards resolving SBS-specific issues.
o The overarching policy objective in relation to same coverage should take into
   account that ‘pure’ SFNs need to be treated differently.


SBS Submission  Spectrum Review           -3-
Alternative use of the BSB spectrum
Before consideration is given to using the BSB spectrum for alternative services:
o planning changes suggested in this submission should be made to ensure that SBS
    is treated at least on par with other broadcasters (particularly in relation to SFNs);
    and
o planning should also be undertaken for black spots (including ‘pure’ SFN-only black
    spots) and self-help services for existing broadcasters in the digital environment
    when switch-off is achieved.

Future use of the BSB spectrum
o As SBS noted in its recent submission to the Multichannelling Review, a certain and
   well publicised switch-off date should be established to provide greater incentive for
   audiences to switch to digital.
o Consideration of possible future uses of the BSB spectrum is premature given the
   current state of the digital market, the uncertain of switch-off date, and rapidly
   changing technologies such as new compression and distribution technologies.

CONTEXT

The Special Broadcasting Service Corporation is established under the SBS Act. Its
principal function is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services
that inform, educate and entertain all Australians, and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s
multicultural society. SBS broadcasts one analogue and four digital television services
nationally, one to two analogue radio services in some markets and provides online
services at www.sbs.com.au. Both SBS Radio services are also available on digital
television.

As the scope of the Review considers the broadcasting services bands (BSBs) in
relation to their use for television and datacasting, this submission does not address
issues about radio: these will be the subject of SBS input into the current consideration
of the introduction of Digital Radio.

SBS Television is most commonly received via analogue in areas with a population of
5,000 or more and is exploring options for further extensions. SBS Television is also
received through around 363 self-help transmitters, owned and operated by local
communities, mostly in remote parts of Australia. Analogue satellite services are
available to around 40,000 homes with DTH receivers Australia wide.

Since the start of digital broadcasting in 2001, SBS has been actively working to use
digital technology to better meet its Charter and to promote digital television to Australian
audiences. Further detail on SBS’ transmission is set out in the Appendix.

SBS responds to the specific issues raised in the Issues Paper as follows.




SBS Submission  Spectrum Review           -4-
CURRENT ALLOCATION AND PLANNING


Whether allocated BSB spectrum has been efficiently structured to meet existing analog
and digital television and datacasting requirements during the simulcast period and the
current moratorium on new commercial television services (except under s.38A and
s.38B).

UHF/VHF Transmission
SBS operates on the ultra high frequency (UHF) transmission band in both analogue
and digital. SBS is currently the only broadcaster consistently planned on UHF spectrum
Australia wide.1 While SBS recognises that UHF spectrum provides optimum coverage
and spectrum efficiency in metropolitan areas, SBS’ viewers experience difficulties
receiving the SBS signal in these markets because, for historical reasons, the free-to-air
television market is primarily operating on very high frequency (VHF).

These difficulties arise where viewers do not have a UHF antenna, or if their antenna is
not pointed correctly. In addition, some older TV sets are not fitted for UHF reception, or
viewers may not have tuned their sets into the correct channel. As SBS is the only
network consistently planned on UHF, audiences are less likely to make the
technological changes necessary just to receive SBS or may not be aware that such
changes are possible.

This leads to an inequity of reception for audiences of SBS Television. To address this,
one option is to ensure that, as VHF becomes more available or if any VHF spectrum is
identified as a result of these Reviews (particularly in metropolitan areas), there be
active consideration of shifting SBS from UHF to VHF. This would enable parity with
other broadcasters and simplify reception of SBS for viewers.

No legislative changes would be required to facilitate this shift. However, changes to
Licence Area Plans (LAPs) and Digital Channel Plans (DCPs) would be required to
reflect the new channel allocated. Consideration would also need to be given to the
costs of relocating the SBS service, for example in relation to transmission equipment
and necessary publicity to advise audiences to re-tune their receivers. These costs
would need to be assessed in light of the considerable benefits to Australian audiences
resulting from this change.

Channel 9A
SBS notes the comments made in the Issues Paper that VHF Channel 9A has not been
widely used for television services and in many markets is only 6MHz wide, making it
unsuitable for television transmissions.

SBS uses Channel 9A in Hobart and Manning River, NSW. Viewers in these areas do
not need a dual-band antenna to receive SBS services, saving costs and avoiding the
technological difficulties referred to above. It may be possible for Channel 9A to be made
available as a 7MHz channel post analogue switch-off.




1
 In certain areas SBS is transmitted on VHF. On analogue, these are Cobar, NSW and Newman
WA, operating on VHF Channel 12. On digital, there are six, Hobart and Manning River on 9A,
Upper Murray, Western Victoria, Kalgoorlie and Bateman’s Bay on 7 and Broken Hill on 12.
SBS Submission  Spectrum Review          -5-
National broadcaster Ministerial Reservation of Spectrum
SBS believes that all Australians, regardless of where they live, should have ready
access to SBS Television services. The Minister’s reservation of national broadcaster
spectrum in the BSBs under s 31 of the BSA is critical to achieving this. A Ministerial
Reservation has been made for capacity for 2 national broadcasting services (SBS and
the ABC) in the BSBs throughout Australia. In practice, this Reservation has been
applied to analogue transmission capacity for each of the national broadcasters.

Analogue
Despite the nationwide Ministerial Reservation for national broadcaster capacity, this
Reservation is not reflected in the LAPs. Instead, LAPs only show national broadcaster
services where SBS or ABC has been allocated and is already occupying spectrum in a
licence area. Reserved spectrum, even for example where a rollout is planned, is not
evident on the face of an LAP. This could be the case even where SBS or ABC rollout is
mentioned in the discussion paper relating to an LAP. Similarly, a Frequency Allotment
Plans does not identify the channel to be allocated to a national broadcaster and it is not
the technical instrument that determines whether spectrum is available for future rollout
(as an LAP does).

Because reserved spectrum is not identified in an LAP, the relevant LAP needs to be
varied (under s 26(2) of the BSA) when SBS comes to roll out a service. In some
markets, this could mean that appropriate spectrum has already been used by the time
the LAP comes to be varied.

The process for allocation of spectrum could be streamlined by allocating specified
national broadcaster channels up-front in LAPs. In many cases, this may simply be a
matter of formally recording the frequency that the ABA has already determined will be
allotted to a national broadcaster.

By identifying reserved national broadcaster spectrum in LAPs, the intention of the
Ministerial Reservation will be accurately reflected. It will also ensure that there is no risk
that spectrum intended for national broadcasters is transferred to other uses without
consultation. While SBS recognises that there may be merits in transferring spectrum for
alternative purposes, the process of allocating spectrum should be transparent and all
interested parties should have the opportunity to comment on such proposals.

Reserved spectrum should be clearly qualified in an LAP so that services that have not
yet achieved funding, or have not yet been planned, are clearly distinguished.

Digital
In relation to digital transmission, DCPs allot channels to broadcasters to enable them to
transmit programs in digital mode during the simulcast period, in addition to the channels
broadcast in analogue mode determined under the relevant LAP. As a result, SBS digital
is planned for in areas where there is an existing analogue service.

However, in areas where SBS does not have an analogue service, the planning
processes reserve capacity, but do not currently automatically allocate specific spectrum
for either a future analogue or future digital service. This means that there is no
assurance that appropriate, quality spectrum will be available at the point of planning the
digital service.



SBS Submission  Spectrum Review            -6-
The DCPs could clearly identify that these services are allocated, pending funding and
rollout. This is possible within the terms of the existing legislation; section 8(4) of the
National Television Conversion Scheme allows a DCP to include other matters, for
example where there is channel capacity available for uses other than the conversion of
existing broadcasting services.

Self-help services
If spectrum reserved for the national broadcasters is identified in LAPs, this will also
ensure that spectrum is available for retransmission of national broadcaster content via
self-help services under s 34(1)(e) of the BSA as audience demand arises in licence
areas where national broadcaster services have not been rolled out.

Self-help services are an important way for SBS Television services to reach all
Australians. An estimated 363 SBS self-help transmitters are owned and operated by
local communities in mostly remote regions of Australia. Further details are in the
Appendix.

Channel 69
The Issues Paper states that the ABA has avoided using UHF Channel 69 wherever
possible because of a possible future requirement for mobile communications services
that has been flagged by the ACA.2

SBS uses Channel 69 extensively in regional and remote areas of Australia. If required
to vacate this spectrum, SBS would need to retune transmitters and re-educate its
audiences to re-tune their receivers. Some off-air distribution will also need to be retuned
where the parent SBS service was operated on Channel 69.

SBS believes that retaining Channel 69 for use by broadcasting services is particularly
important because this spectrum has access to receivers that are currently used in the
domestic market and could be used for self-help and black spot digital services in the
future. In this regard, SBS refers to its comments below in relation to the use of the
BSBs for alternative services.

Whether Single Frequency Networks (SFNs) are being planned and deployed in
appropriate circumstances and to an appropriate extent.

As noted in the Issues Paper, the Australian digital television transmission system allows
the use of SFNs. SFNs are an efficient process as they require less spectrum to operate
because they use the same channel for broadcast of the same service from two or more
synchronised transmitter sites. In metropolitan licence areas, a public policy decision
was made by the ABA to adopt a ‘pure’ SFN approach as a default policy, except where
it would be contrary to the public interest, in which case a ‘1+1’ approach would be
taken.3

SBS is the only broadcaster that has been allocated ‘pure’ SFNs, the default policy
position (SBS’ SFNs are currently in metropolitan areas only). Other free-to-air
broadcasters have been allocated at least 1+1 SFNs or MFNs.



2
    DCITA Issues Paper, page 7
3
    DCITA Issues Paper, page 8
SBS Submission  Spectrum Review          -7-
While this means that SBS is an efficient user of spectrum, this inconsistency in the way
the BSBs have been planned has created a number of potential difficulties for SBS
viewers. These problems are likely to be amplified as digital take up increases.

Problems with pure SFNs arise where viewers have difficulties receiving a broadcaster’s
digital service with the same antenna configuration as their analogue service. These
include:
 Viewers may need to re-orientate their antennae to receive the same service in
    digital. As pure SFN services are unique to SBS, reorientation will be prone to
    installation errors and viewers may in any event be confused about what action
    needs to be taken to address the reception issue.
 Reception is more vulnerable to the SFN capability of the varied range of set top
    boxes available on the market.
 Broadcasters are using different guard intervals. This means that a viewer may be in
    a ‘mush zone’ for one broadcaster, but not another.
 As a result of being the only broadcaster assigned ‘pure’ SFNs, SBS reception is
    vulnerable to SFN-only black spots. For example, viewers in the shadow of Mt Coot-
    tha (Brisbane) who are unable to get good Brisbane reception may be able to get
    analogue or MFN reception from Mt Tamborine (Gold Coast). However, they are
    unable to do so with the SBS digital service because SBS operates a pure SFN in
    this market.

Broadcasters also face more difficulties using ‘pure’ SFNs, compared to 1+1 SFNs or
MFNs, which have less audience impact. These difficulties are experienced largely
because more costly operating specifications, such as tighter technical precision and
additional equipment, are required for the transmitters to establish a ‘pure’ SFN network
than other types of networks:
 Pure SFN networks are more expensive for broadcasters to implement than
   SFN(1+1) or MFNs. They are also more complex to set up, particularly if different
   sites use different modulators.
 Reception from a ‘pure’ SFN services is at greater risk of disruption because the
   main transmitter service is part of the SFN, unlike a 1+1 SFN where the high
   powered transmitter of the ‘main service’ is able to provide a second, independent,
   frequency for viewers to tune into in the event that the low powered SFN service fails
   or is disrupted in some manner particular to SFN operation.
 It is difficult to monitor the performance of ‘pure’ SFNs because it is particularly hard
   to tell if a fault is occurring as a result of equipment failure, rather than from a
   characteristic particular to SFN operation only. Monitoring performance is also
   problematic because of the differences in manufacturing specifications for set top
   box performance with regard to SFN operation, and viewers’ receiver antennae
   orientation.

In addition to these difficulties experienced as a result of being the only broadcaster
using ‘pure’ SFNs, SBS is also disadvantaged because its main frequency is on UHF
rather than VHF, as previously outlined.

ABA planning software currently assumes that antennae are optimised for service (ie
that antennae are positioned 10m high and are pointing in the right direction). This
assumption may not eventuate as audiences switch to digital. For example, if an
antenna is already installed it will most likely be pointing in the direction of an existing
analogue service(s), and may not be optimised for SFN reception in that particular


SBS Submission  Spectrum Review            -8-
location. This is particularly true for ‘pure’ SFNs within a ‘mush zone’ especially in areas
such as the Gold Coast.

To minimise reception difficulties for audiences, and to ensure equity of treatment
among broadcasters, future planning that proposes an SFN in any market should
attempt to ensure all broadcasters use the same SFN configuration.

In markets where SBS has already been planned as the only ‘pure’ SFN broadcaster,
consideration should be given to providing SBS with capacity to broadcast on a 1+1 SFN
basis, at least on par with other broadcasters, when further spectrum becomes available.

This approach will help ensure that SBS transmission is available as widely as other
television broadcasting services and that the quality of reception is equivalent to those
other services, meeting the reasonable expectations of Australian audiences.

Whether current spectrum planning and allocation processes allow for the achievement
of equivalent coverage.

The National Television Conversion Scheme is based on objectives that digital national
broadcasting services should achieve the same level of coverage and potential reception
quality as is achieved by the transmission of that service in analog mode in that area.4
The objectives are to be achieved in a coverage area as soon as practicable after the
start of the simulcast period.

Achieving a fair and appropriate measure of ‘same level of coverage’ in digital
conversion is vital to ensuring that all Australians have access to SBS services when
analogue switch-off occurs.

In determining whether same coverage has been achieved, it should be a precondition
that audiences should be able to expect the same ease of SBS reception as is the case
with other broadcasters.

The industry is aware of a number of difficulties associated with assessing same
coverage, due to the differences in analogue and digital technologies: with analogue
coverage, the further a receiver is from a transmitter, the worse a viewer’s reception will
be. In contrast, digital transmission has a ‘cliff’ effect so that a viewer can either receive
a signal, or cannot. The real test of same coverage is whether a viewer with analogue
reception can easily achieve acceptable digital reception.

There are also several emerging difficulties associated with measuring same coverage.
In certain places (often in adjacent areas), power on digital transmitters has been
restricted until analogue is turned off. Some audiences in those areas cannot get digital
as a result but can get analogue and this will remain the case until switch-off. For
example, SBS Digital Television in Illawarra (Knights Hill) has a restriction in operating
power to protect analogue reception of NEN54 in Newcastle.

Planning should ensure that spectrum is available to achieve same coverage should
black spots in digital reception be discovered after switch-off and the digital service is
operated at full power for the first time.

4
    Broadcasting Services Act 1992, Schedule 4, s19(f) and Schedule 4, s19(k)
SBS Submission  Spectrum Review              -9-
SBS is represented on the Same Coverage Working Group which is currently
establishing the parameters to compare analogue to digital coverage and a regime for
field testing to enable a proper comparison. SBS recognises the difficult and complex
issues faced by the Working Group. However, because of the unique way in which SBS
spectrum is allocated (especially in relation to ‘pure’ SFNs and UHF transmission), the
difficulties experienced by SBS are at times not the same as those of the rest of the
industry. As a result, some industry processes addressing same coverage are not
geared towards resolving SBS-specific issues.

The overarching policy objectives in relation to same coverage should ensure that
industry processes such as this are required to take into account that ‘pure’ SFNs need
to be treated differently and that digital TV black spots discovered at the end of the
simulcast period will require additional spectrum.

The scope to identify spectrum which is currently part of the BSBs for alternative non-
broadcasting services

In view of the complex issues facing the industry in establishing ‘same level of
coverage’, and those unique to SBS (particularly in relation to its use of ‘pure’ SFNs),
SBS believes that the changes suggested in this submission should be made and the
outcomes properly assessed before consideration is given to using the BSB spectrum
for alternative services.

SBS is concerned that if a mixed market continues with broadcasters using different
SFN and MFN configurations, Australian audiences will continue to experience
difficulties receiving SBS. When analogue switch-off is achieved, many viewers -
particularly in ‘mush zones’ - are likely to experience black spots. While viewers mostly
tolerate fringe reception of analogue services, the ‘breaks’ in digital programs during
fading are likely to be unacceptable. As a result, it is likely that many digital black spot
transmitters could be required to address these issues; as black spot transmitters cannot
be off-air fed if they are to be part of a downstream SFN, they will require allocation of
additional channels.

If it eventuates at switch-off that ‘pure’ SFNs are causing significant difficulties for
viewers, there may not be sufficient spectrum available to correct these errors if parts of
the BSBs have already been allocated for alternative services.

SBS believes that the ABA should plan for surplus spectrum to allow for the possibility
that incumbent broadcasters using SFNs have difficulties in achieving ‘same level of
coverage’. Spectrum should be reserved for black spots that have not yet been
discovered in digital transmission because the number of receivers in the market is not
yet sufficient to reveal these holes in coverage.

SBS also notes that planning has not yet been undertaken in relation to community,
narrowcasting or self-help services and black spots in regional areas – use of the BSBs
for these identified purposes should be planned before determining whether there is any
‘surplus’ spectrum and before considering use of the BSBs for other services.




SBS Submission  Spectrum Review         - 10 -
ALLOCATION AND PLANNING POST-SWITCH-OFF


Whether allocated BSB spectrum has been efficiently structured to provide for the
requirements of any new services, including the facilitation of potential new spectrum
usage after the simulcast period and moratorium on new commercial television
broadcasting services.
Whether there is any need to modify the ABA’s current spectrum clearance and
compensation powers, having particular regard to the post-simulcast period.

SBS believes that consideration of issues relating to the process for planning and
allocating the BSBs at the end of the simulcast period, including possible future uses of
spectrum and modification to the ABA’s spectrum compensation powers, is premature at
this stage.

In its recent Submission to the Multichannelling Review, SBS commented on the
importance of establishing a certain and well publicised switch-off date to provide greater
incentive for audiences to switch to digital. SBS believes that the earlier a switch-off date
is determined and announced, the better. In this regard, SBS notes that the BSA
provides for a separate review into the duration of the simulcast period to be conducted
by 1 January 2006.

SBS believes that the operation of the digital market needs to be more established
before the implications can be properly assessed. For example, as noted above, until
further receivers are being used in the domestic market, it is difficult to plan for ‘black
spots’ that have not yet been discovered.

The 2002 Review into the ABA’s spectrum allocation powers found that greater
experience of the operation of digital broadcasting services and datacasting services,
and market factors should be established before examining spectrum compensation
issues. While digital take-up has increased substantially since then, it remains
insufficient to make a proper assessment of this now.

In addition, technologies are rapidly changing (for example, compression technologies
such as those used in DVB-H and other mobile television services are likely to evolve in
ways which complement existing broadcasting services) and this is likely to contribute to
the way that the digital market will operate when analogue switch-off is established. As
noted in SBS’ submission to the Multichannelling Review, SBS expects compression
technologies to improve and SBS hopes to take advantage of these technologies, where
feasible.

These factors should all be taken into account closer to the time of analogue switch-off.

                    __________________________________________


SBS would be happy to respond to any questions arising from this submission and the
Review.


SBS Submission  Spectrum Review          - 11 -
          APPENDIX - SBS TELEVISION TRANSMISSION ARRANGEMENTS

SBS Television transmits its programs throughout Australia via the following means:

1. Analogue
o Terrestrial transmission: 231 terrestrial transmitters that deliver its analogue
   service through contracts with three service providers: Broadcast Australia, Imparja
   and Watson’s Technical Services. This includes the Government funded extension to
   SBS analogue TV coverage to areas of populations between 5,000 and 10,000,
   completed in mid 2004. SBS is exploring possibilities for further extensions.
o Self-help & black spot transmission: An estimated 363 SBS self-help transmitters
   are owned and operated by local communities in mostly remote regions of Australia.
   The SBS Self-Help Subsidy Scheme funded by the Federal Government and
   administered by SBS provides eligible community groups or local government
   instrumentalities with 50% of the capped start-up capital costs for SBS Television
   transmitter installations. The Government’s Television Black Spot Program provides
   those groups in eligible areas with 100% of these costs for television transmitter
   installations. This is a relatively low-cost way for communities to own and operate
   their own local transmitter, eliminating the need for households to install large and
   expensive antenna systems or satellite antennas and receivers.
o Satellite: Four Optus Aurora satellite services to all of Australia, including 40,000
   remote direct-to-home receivers. SBS continues to provide direct-to-home analogue
   television and radio services through the Optus C1 satellite.

2. Digital
o Terrestrial: 97 digital terrestrial services which cover all capital cities and major
   regional centres, reaching an estimated 90% of the national population. An additional
   44 new services, awaiting Government funding approval, should commence rollout in
   the first half of 2005; and
o Satellite: Optus B3 and B1 satellites are used for the distribution of four digital
   multiplexes to regional and remote transmitter sites, providing the full suite of SBS
   multichannels across Australia.

3. Re-transmission on Pay TV
o Re-transmission services via the cable subscription services of Optus Vision and
   Foxtel, and the satellite subscription services of Austar and Foxtel.




SBS Submission  Spectrum Review        - 12 -

				
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