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Digital TV Switchover Assistance

On Tuesday 27 November 2012, large areas of Northern NSW will switch off their analog TV signals and switch to digital-only free-to-air TV – and with not long to go, Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) is encouraging people to get ready for digital TV.

On 27 November 2012 analog TV will be permanently switched off across areas of Northern NSW and free-to-air TV will be broadcast in digital-only.

To continue watching free-to-air TV households and businesses will need to ensure their televisions can receive digital TV signals by either:

  • connecting a set-top box or digital TV recorder to an existing analog TV, or
  • upgrading to a digital TV (a TV with a built-in digital tuner).

Digital TV provides more choice with over 16 free-to-air channels as well as enhanced picture and sound quality. Switching to digital TV will also ensure that Australia keeps pace with worldwide changes in technology as well as free up broadcast space that can be used for other services to the community such as mobile broadband services.

Households unable to receive adequate digital television reception from terrestrial transmitters can apply to access the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service, which provides the full suite of digital services. VAST is also available to those travelling in caravans, campervans and motor homes.

The Household Assistance Scheme is available to those in the community that may require practical help switching to digital TV.

To be eligible for assistance at least one person in the per household must receive the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement, own a functioning television and not have access to digital TV.

Assistance includes the supply and installation of a high definition set-top box or satellite equipment by a Government-contracted installer and, where necessary, upgrading of antennas and cables. Eligible households will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services and should call 1800 55 64 43 to opt in. Eilgible people are encouraged to opt-in early to avoid missing out.

The Australian Government is also making available a range of advice to help make the switch.

RDA-NI is pleased to welcome Judi Sheedy and Alun Davies as the Digital Switchover Liaison Officers for the North West Slopes and Plains switchover area including the Tenterfield Local Government Area. To contact Judi Sheedy call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13 or e-mail digitaltv@rdani.org.au. Alun may be contacted by e-mail on digitaltv2@rdani.org.au.

The Digital Ready Website www.digitalready.gov.au has a range of resources, including factsheets and tutorial videos that can assist you make the switch to digital TV. The mySwitch tool on the website can also give you specific information about the switchover in your area when you enter in your full address.

The Digital Ready Information Line is also available and can be contacted on 1800 20 10 13.


Residents in the Nundle area

The Australian Government’s Satellite Subsidy Scheme is available to households in areas where the local self-help tower is not being upgraded to digital and households will move to the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service. The VAST service provides access to all 16 free-to-air digital channels as well as an additional regional news channel.

The Subsidy cost of accessing VAST, which requires a satellite dish and VAST high definition set-top box. Under the Subsidy, households receive a high definition VAST set-top box, satellite dish and cabling supplied and installed by a government-contracted installer for a one off co-payment of $220.

Households eligible for the Subsidy will be contacted directly by the Australia Government’s Digital Switchover Taskforce and invited to apply.


*Switch off may occur earlier in some towns relying on a self-help transmission tower. Residents in these areas will be informed about the switchover dates.

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