Conference paper

The benefits of closing analogue TV broadcast, and its potential effect on other communications policies

15 Oct 2007

That there is around $3 billion1 in cost savings the government could make on digital TV between now and a realistic closedown date for analogue broadcasting. The savings could be channeled into assisting the funding of a high speed broadband solution for Australia. This is before we consider the potential community benefit from the uses and or sale of the analogue spectrum once it is surplus to the needs of the current TV networks. This spectrum was once valued at $12 billion dollars in the heady early days of the digital TV debate. It would be worth a lot less than that now but this largely depends on what the buyers are allowed to do with it. The estimate of billions of dollars lost maintaining analogue is based on a combination of official figures and realistic estimates. I have been trying to get the unreported actual cost figures from DCITA for over a year, first via FOI, then the ombudsman who said he did not have the jurisdiction, and after that the AAT. The hearing at the AAT indicated how much DCITA and the government do not want to reveal the figures, with government people flying from Canberra to attend and engaging lawyers to explain there is no public interest in the subject. In one part of their documentation It stated that I would have to pay to get the figures, in another part that the figures weren't available and in yet another part that the figures were accessible on the public record. Just minutes before the hearing was due to commence I was duly presented with 380 pages of material [previously unreceived] relevant to the proceedings. The hearing decision has been reserved Part of DCITA statement of facts issued on the 13th April 2006 can quoted in full as saying ''the government expects to spend over $1250 million over the next 10 years on conversion of national broadcasters and providing funding to assist regional broadcasters in converting to digital transmission". Since analog must continue while such conversion is taking place This means that analog is planned to continue by government until 2016.

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