Spectrum Review

Radio to plan digital extension to regional Australia

Helen Henry, 8th July 2015
The Minister for Communications, Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, today released a report which recommends establishing a Digital Radio Planning Committee for regional Australia, chaired by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

A key thrust of the report is for the Government to remove obstacles and facilitate industry planning and implementation. There are incentives to focus prompt action in regional areas, such as the removal of who can provide digital radio if regional services are not on-air by mid-2018. The report also recommends removing the current restrictions on new digital only licensees, both in metropolitan and regional areas.

The CBAA supports the establishment of the planning group with representation from community, commercial and national broadcasters and chaired by the ACMA as a key initiative to move things forward and ensure best account is taken of the public interest.

“Digital radio is the primary free-to-air broadcast technology in Australia’s multi-platform digital media environment. Community radio is an essential part of the mix of digital services” said CBAA President Adrian Basso.

“Radio is a free media. As everything and everyone moves digital it is important that at least a primary set of media services stay freely available. Government legislation has ensured a primary set of free-to-air digital radio services is available in each area where digital radio has been implemented. Facilitating the extension to regional areas is welcomed."

“As well as free-to-air digital radio, the CBAA believes that it is in the public interest for Government to legislate for the primary set of radio services to be available via online and mobile on an unmetered basis."

"By endorsing the current allocation of spectrum for digital radio, we welcome the continued reservation of capacity for community radio services in the Radiocommunications Act. The report considers funding for community radio services to make use of this capacity, and we’ll continue to work with the Government to ensure that this funding is adequate.”

Community digital radio services provide a high level of unique local content and a diverse mix of cultural and specialist talks, educational, music, Indigenous, print handicapped, youth, seniors, religious and ethnic language and multicultural services. These services are critical to cultural inclusion and democratic participation, and allow all Australians to engage with the diverse views and information in their communities.

For further information on the CBAA's work in the digital radio space, head here.

Find your local community digital radio service

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