The report is the culmination of the Multichannel Review which the Commonwealth Government undertook in anticipation of analogue switchoff. The Government has decided to delay the implementation of minimum captioning and Australian content requirements on digital multichannels until the last region has its analogue signal switched off (which must occur before 31 December 2013).
Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), digital multichannels are not required to meet particular levels of captioning until the analogue signal is switched off. When this arrangement was first envisioned, however, it was expected that the analogue signal would be switched off everywhere simultaneously. Instead, because the Government opted for a region-by-region approach to the switchoff (beginning in Mildura/Sunraysia, Victoria, on 1 July 2010), the minimum captioning and Australian content requirements would have been implemented in each region according to the switchoff timetable.
The Government believes that broadcasters would find it difficult to implement the minimum requirements before the national switchoff. The report indicates that a further Review of Multichannels will be conducted before 31 December 2012, so that the Government can assess how minimum captioning and Australian content requirements should be imposed upon digital multichannels in the future.
For more information, read the Multichannel Review Report.
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