Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today encouraged people who travel around regional and remote Australia to start enjoying digital TV through the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service.
Speaking from the VAST processing centre in Townsville, the Minister said the VAST service is driving a quiet television revolution for travellers across regional and remote Australia.
“In 2011, domestic and international tourists spent 41 million nights in caravan parks around Australia. There are also more than 50,000 Australian campervan and motor home owners. Until recently, the only TV someone could watch after a long day’s driving or sightseeing was the limited choice available on analog television – sometimes fewer than four channels,” Senator Conroy said.
“Through VAST, people travelling across regional and remote Australia can now access up to 16 digital channels – the same as in the capital cities. This includes the five free-to-air networks and their multi-channels, as well as regional news services, and specialised public service channels.
“The old Aurora Satellite service is being switched off on 31 December 2013, so I strongly encourage people to get themselves a satellite dish and apply for VAST now.”
To help travellers tune their satellite dishes into the VAST signal, a new smartphone application is being developed to do it for them. Available on iPhones and Android, the app will use the phone’s GPS to locate available terrestrial television signals and show users how to receive them.
“Travellers will no longer have to waste time in stormy weather or in the dark pointing their antennas or satellite dishes in any number of directions. The app will show exactly where they need to be to pick up the best television signal,” Senator Conroy said.
Over 80,000 households in regional and remote areas are already enjoying VAST, with over 100,000 VAST decoders activated across Australia, including for around 13,000 travellers.
The Viewer Access Satellite Television service is available now to all households throughout the Remote Central and Eastern Australia TV licence area.
To apply for the VAST, people should visit the Digital Ready Website www.digitalready.gov.au or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 2010 13.
For more information about the switch to digital-only TV visit www.digitalready.gov.au or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13.