The government has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring Australians receive the full suite of digital television channels as part of the changeover from analogue TV.
Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced a new digital television satellite service in January to bring the service to those who had trouble receiving terrestrial digital television services.
The nature of the digital TV signal means people in areas with weak signals are likely to experience more problems with digital TV reception.
The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television) Bill 2010 will provide the legislative framework for the implementation of the new satellite service. The Government will refer the legislation to the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee so it can be discussed in the Budget sittings.
The amendments will create three new commercial television licence areas specifically for the new satellite service:
- Northern Australia – including the Northern Territory and Queensland
- South Eastern Australia – including the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria
- Western Australia.
"The legislation also requires commercial broadcasters to provide all local news and information programs to the satellite service licensee, and will ensure that viewers who rely on satellite are able to access their local news as soon as possible after bulletins commence on the terrestrial channel," Conroy said in a statement.