Digital TV moves closer

The Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, today said that the Government was acting quickly to ensure a smooth and speedy introduction of digital television to Australia, by establishing a high-level group to begin work on the complex technical, content, regulatory and planning issues associated with making this new technology available to Australian homes.

'The Government's policy requires that digital terrestrial television transmissions commence on 1 January 2001 in the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth metropolitan areas, and from 1 January 2001 to 1 January 2004 in all other areas,' Senator Alston said.

'The transition to digital broadcasting will require a large range of issues to be resolved before the introduction of services. Industry input on these issues will be essential.

'The Government consulted with interested parties in the lead up to its decision, and wishes to ensure that the ongoing implementation process continues to take into account a wide range of views.

'The new consultative group announced today will include senior members nominated by peak representative bodies in the free-to-air and pay television, online, content, and equipment manufacturing industries, together with consumer representatives.'

Senator Alston said the Group will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts, Mr Neville Stevens.

'The consultative group will provide broad input and advice on a range of policy, technical and other issues. Discussions with key industry players and others, including consumer groups, on an individual basis will of course continue to take place as needed, notwithstanding the existence of a more formal consultative group.'

A list of groups invited to nominate representatives is attached.

Media Contact:
Terry O'Connor, Minister's office 0419 636 879

29 April 1998


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