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Australia selling off analogue TV spectrum

Monday 07 Nov 201
Australia’s federal government has kicked off an A$2.5 billion (US$2.53 billion) race to sell off unused analogue television spectrum, The Australian reports.

analogue television

After the sale, viewers will be forced to retune their TV sets as channels move to a different part of the spectrum, a move predicted to cause chaos.

The price paid for the hotly contested spectrum – which mobile phone and other telecommunications services use – will boost government coffers in 2012-13, when it has promised to return its budget to surplus.

The government said last year it intended to sell the spectrum – the so-called “digital dividend” arising from the switch-off of analogue TV – but quietly set the process in motion officially on Tuesday in parliament.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will conduct an auction of the spectrum in November next year.

A spectrum sale in the US yielded US$19 billion in 2009. Industry estimates have ranged from A$1.5 billion to A$2.5 billion (US$1.52 billion to US$2.53 billion).

Commercial free-to-air TV networks, as well as the ABC and SBS, will be required to spend up to A$50 million (US$50.75 million) to change frequencies at more than 1,000 transmitters across the nation. And unless home owners retune their sets, they will lose their TV signals.