Aus switch-off amendments sought

Australia’s Upper House legiuslators are pushing the government to introduce minimum analogue switch-off requirements that must be met before ditching the analogue signal in favour of digital-only broadcasting.

The digital TV switchover bill yesterday passed the Senate. It lays the groundwork for a region-by-region switch-off programme with a completion date of the end of 2013.

But two independent senators and the opposition introduced amendments that could force the government not to act until some targets have been met, such as uptake and coverage. These requirements would be public knowledge. Under the bill in its original form, switch-off was at the discretion of the minister.

The bill now retuirns to the lower house where MPs will either adopt the amendments or not.