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Big opportunities for Australian industry in digital broadcasting



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M e d i a

R e l e a s e

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON

Minister fo r Communications, Information Technology a nd the Arts

Deputy Leader o f the Government in the Senate

BIG OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY IN DIGITAL BROADCASTING

‘Australia’s transition to digital broadcasting offers significant manufacturing, software and content opportunities for Australian industry potentially worth billions o f dollars,’ the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said today.

‘The Government is particularly heartened by the high level o f interest shown by Australian firms in these opportunities, with about 100 industry representatives attending a recent seminar.’

Senator Alston said the seminar discussed the findings of a report by Digital Business Consulting which estimated that 25 per cent of Australia’s 6.8 million homes will have digital television receivers by 2005.

The report identified a range o f opportunities for Australian industry including the design and manufacture o f transmission systems, digital studio production equipment, and television receiver units such as set top boxes.

‘The provision o f digital software solutions for enhanced television applications, content development, datacasting and interactive services, is seen as another area in which Australian industry is internationally competitive, ’ Senator Alston said.

‘Australian companies have the expertise and creativity needed to develop digital broadcasting products and services that can succeed in world markets, and generate significant export income for Australia. ’

The report was commissioned by a high-level Working Group o f industry and government representatives, established by the Government to help prepare a Digital Broadcasting Industry Action Agenda.

Senator Alston said that he welcomed the seminar’s proposal to create an ongoing industry forum that would work with the Government to implement the initiatives in the Action Agenda.

The Digital Broadcasting Working Group is Chaired by Mr Ross Henderson, General Manager of the Panasonic television factory located at Penrith, and includes members from the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, the Australian Information Industry Association and the Internet Industry Association.

Digital television broadcasts are to commence on 1 January 2001 in metropolitan areas, and between 1 January 2001 and 1 January 2004 in regional areas. Broadcasters are required to simulcast substantially the same service in analog and digital mode for at least eight years from the commencement date.

Media contact: Terry O ’Connor, Minister’s office 02 6277 7480 web site: www. richardalston. dca. gov. au 211/98 4 December 1998