November 9, 2010 - 6:24PM
Rural Australians will soon be able to watch all the same television channels their city counterparts enjoy.
The federal government announced the partnership with regional commercial broadcasters following its mid-year budget review on Tuesday.
Labor will provide $34 million over four years to enable commercial broadcasters in regional South Australia, Western Australia and central Australian terrestrial-licence areas to deliver all digital TV channels to viewers.
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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the funding would cover 50 per cent of the capital and operational costs for new TV transmitters until the end of the digital switchover program in 2013.
"This means viewers in these areas will receive the same number of commercial channels as people in capital cities," he said.
"All they need to do is install a set top box or ... buy a new digital TV and connect it to their existing aerial."
Regional commercial broadcasters WIN, Prime, Southern Cross and Imparja will announce the rollout schedule for the new channels soon.
Once the rollout is complete, Senator Conroy said any viewer anywhere in Australia who couldn't access all the commercial digital TV channels via terrestrial broadcast could get them using a satellite service.
ABC and SBS digital channels will be provided to regional audiences via terrestrial and satellite broadcast as well.
Senator Conroy said funding for the initiative will be offset from money held in the government's contingency reserve.
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