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Hospitals warned about interference from digital TV testing.

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Media Release

No. 11 of 1999 - 26 February 1999

Hospitals Warned about Interference from Digital TV Testing

The Australian Communications Authority has been working with the Australian Broadcasting Authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) , the College of Biomedical Engineers and product suppliers to identify new spectrum alternatives for biomedical telemetry systems.

These telemetry systems currently share spectrum with VHF television channels from 6 through to 9A under a class licence condition which includes a no protection from interference basis, as broadcasting is the primary user of this spectrum. The class licence is for low interference potential devices. This sharing approach was established more than a decade ago.

The ACA is now quantifying the degree of reduction in capacity and identifying new spectrum alternatives and will shortly be in a position for more detailed consultation with the health community, manufacturers and suppliers.

With the introduction of digital television in the currently vacant VHF TV channels, these telemetry services will have reduced capacity for their operations, as is evident in other countries where VHF digital television is being introduced.

The current telemetry equipment relies on known stable arrangements for VHF television transmissions that enable the biomedical community to find vacant spectrum in any particular area for their operations. This equipment is manufactured overseas and the operations in Australia are consistent with international trends in many other countries.

Final arrangements will be dependent on the outcomes of the digital TV planning framework currently underway, and how the manufacturers of biomedical telemetry equipment choose to respond internationally to the introduction of TV.

In the meantime, hospitals were advised through the TGA in December 1998 about the occurrence of possible test transmissions for digital TV, and to have back-up monitoring equipment available. Television stations are required by the Australian Broadcasting Authority to place notices in the local press in advance of commencing test transmissions.

For more information contact:

All media enquiries:

Geoff Hutchins

Dianne Frey

Acting Executive Manager, Radiofrequency Planning

Manager, Communications and Information

Telephone: (02) 6256 5284

Telephone: (03) 9963 6966


Mobile: 0418 399 552