In brief: Regional Victoria to go digital in May 2011

The analog TV signals will be switched off on 5 May next year

All analog television signals in regional Victoria will be switched off permanently come 5 May next year, affecting some 455,000 householders.

The announcement, made by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, follows the switching off of analog TV signals in the Mildura and Sunraysia region on 30 June 2010, that left residents without television.

“Regional Victoria is already well down the track to conversion to digital-only TV, with 76 per cent of households already converted, and 95 per cent of households aware of the digital switchover date,” Senator Conroy said of the switch-off in a statement.

According to Conroy, a number of Victorians have already made the switch to digital television, and those who are yet to make the switch now have a deadline.

“Where households cannot receive their digital TV from terrestrial broadcast towers, they will be able to receive the full range of digital TV services from the government-funded VAST satellite service which includes the full suite of digital channels from all of the commercial networks, as well as the ABC and SBS.

Those eligible for the Viewer Access Satellite Television services and the Satellite Subsidy Scheme will be households dependent on local analog self-help transmitters that are not being upgraded to digital.

Digital Switchover Taskforce executive director, Andy Townend, said some communities would be switching to digital only before the 5 May 2001, including analog TV transmission sites at Bonnie Doon and Howqua schedules for the switch later this year.

New digital TV services will replace analog TV services at Hopetoun, Lorne, Jeeralang/Yinnar South, and Boolarra in February next year.

“We will be communicating directly with households in these areas to advise them of their digital switchover dates and how they can get ready for digital only free to air TV in their area,” Townend said.

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