The Big Switch

As far as milestones go, 30 June 2010 will be a significant one for Australian television. On that day, the Mildura Sunraysia region will be the first market to switch off its analog broadcast signal and convert solely to digital television services. This marks the beginning of a national digital switch-over plan that will see every household in Australia converted to digital by the end of 2013.

The Federal Government and free-to-air broadcasters have been working closely to ensure a smooth transition.

Freeview has been actively marketing the free-to-air digital platform, with a major multi-media advertising campaign promoting the “more for me” message. Meanwhile, the Government has been investing heavily in an awareness campaign, designed to ensure Australians are aware of the need to switch to digital TV and how to go about it.

Critically, the Government has been active at the local level too – ensuring that no Mildura residents are left behind after switchover. 

The Government has also implemented a Household Assistance Scheme to help those in need of assistance (eg. pensioners, carers etc). Senator Conroy recently announced that 2000 households in Mildura have already received help under the Scheme. 

•   Another measure put in place by the Government is the recently-announced Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service, which will ensure viewers in regional and remote areas of Australia are not left behind in the switchover to digital. 

According to the latest Digital Tracker Report, compiled by the Government’s Digital Switchover Taskforce, around 9 in 10 households in the Mildura Sunraysia region have already converted to digital, and awareness of switchover in the region is at 99 per cent!

Conversion to digital TV in South Australia, the second region to make the switch commencing December 2010, is also on the rise, reaching 74 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 – up from 64 per cent the previous quarter.

The latest Digital Tracker Report also revealed strong gains in all key indicators on a national level; 95 per cent of Australian households are now aware of the approaching switch off of analog television signals, and 68 per cent have already converted to digital TV – up seven percentage points on the previous quarter.

Importantly, the latest report reveals positive attitudes towards digital television. 8 in 10 households that have already converted to digital television are satisfied with the service, and negative attitudes toward the switchover remain low.

The Digital Switchover Taskforce will be on the ground in Mildura over the coming month to ensure a smooth transition. And as the countdown clock in Mildura ticks towards the big switch, this small region prepares to have the eyes of the nation on it as Australian television history is made.

For more information about digital switchover and timetable visit

Published June 2010