Australian Government, 2011‑12 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Australian Communications and Media Authority — revenue assurance project

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Australian Communications and Media Authority 1.5 1.5
Related revenue ($m)
Australian Communications and Media Authority nfp nfp nfp nfp
Related capital ($m)
Australian Communications and Media Authority 0.4

The Government will provide $3.4 million over two years for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to conduct a revenue assurance project to improve the management of existing administered revenues and increase revenue collections.

The revenue assurance project will involve a new audit and assurance program for broadcasting licence fees, expanded quality assurance and industry monitoring for revenue streams, and a new outreach program to engage and educate industry members with obligations to pay broadcasting licence fees under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. There are no changes to existing statutory requirements for payment of broadcasting licence fees.

Community broadcasting — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.2

The Government will provide $12.5 million over four years to enable community broadcasters to increase content production in Ethnic, Indigenous and Radio for the Print Handicapped broadcasting, and to establish a new Community Radio Content Development Fund.

Digital Television Switchover — assistance

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 46.0 195.1 86.0 2.1
Department of Human Services 6.4 22.9 11.8 0.2
Australian Communications and Media Authority .. 1.6 0.8
Total 52.5 219.6 98.6 2.3
Related capital ($m)
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 1.0 0.9 0.6 0.2
Department of Human Services 0.8
Total 1.0 1.7 0.6 0.2

The Government will provide $376.5 million over four years to facilitate switchover from analog to digital television in regional areas of New South Wales and Western Australia, remote areas in Central, Eastern and Western Australia, and in metropolitan areas. This is consistent with the Government's switchover timetable announced on 19 October 2008 and the Government's commitment to complete digital television switchover by the end of 2013.

This funding includes an assistance program to provide in‑home assistance for eligible households and a program to work with industry to drive digital take‑up by consumers and an information and communications campaign.

This measure includes funding of $2.4 million over four years to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to identify areas without access to digital television services and funding of $42.2 million over four years for the Department of Human Services to provide support for the delivery of assistance for eligible households.

Digital Television Switchover — conversion of Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service analog television self‑help services

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Australian Broadcasting Corporation nfp nfp nfp nfp
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation nfp nfp nfp nfp
Total

The Government will provide funding over four years to enable the national broadcasters to convert 59 analog self‑help television services to digital mode. The funding will also cover ongoing operational costs.

The measure provides funding to:

  • support the conversion of 47 Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) analog self‑help television services to digital mode and a contribution towards the ongoing costs;
  • support the conversion of 10 Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) analog self‑help television services to digital mode and a contribution towards their ongoing costs; and
  • the ABC to convert analog self‑help television services in Mandurah (in Western Australia) and Tieri (in Queensland) to digital and operate them once converted.

The expenditure for this measure is not for publication to protect the broadcasters' position in any future negotiations with service providers.

See also the related savings measure titled Digital Television Switchover — Satellite Subsidy Scheme savings in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio.

Digital Television Switchover — enhancement

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 2.3

The Government will provide $2.3 million in 2010‑11 to improve implementation of the Digital Television Switchover program in regional areas of South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

The funding will be used to:

  • work with the antenna installation industry to ensure the quality of installations;
  • more effectively target outreach activities; and
  • strengthen the compliance activities of the program.

Funding for the initiative will be fully offset by reducing amounts held in the Contingency Reserve to support Australia's transition from analog to digital television.

Digital Television Switchover — Satellite Subsidy Scheme savings

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy ‑2.6 ‑0.6 ‑16.8

The Government will achieve savings of $20.0 million over three years from the reduced requirement to provide assistance to households under the Satellite Subsidy Scheme.

Fifty‑five communities spread across all Australian states and territories (except the Australian Capital Territory), consisting of approximately 35,000 households, will now receive all television services from local terrestrial digital transmissions. These communities will no longer need to access ABC and SBS television from the Viewer Access Satellite Service (VAST), and therefore will not be eligible under that Satellite Subsidy Scheme announced in the 2010‑11 Budget. This proposal supports the Government's objective of achieving digital switchover by the end of 2013.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

See also the related expense measure titled Digital Television Switchover — conversion of ABC and SBS analog television self‑help services in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

National Broadband Network — implementation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 11.0 9.6 5.0 4.8 4.0
Department of Finance and Deregulation 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Total 11.2 9.9 5.2 5.0 4.3

The Government will provide $35.6 million over five years to continue to support the implementation of the National Broadband Network.

Funding of $34.4 million over five years will be provided to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy for additional work to support the finalisation of Definitive Agreements between Telstra and NBN Co Limited. This work will include developing and implementing arrangements for the establishment of a new entity to manage the Universal Service Obligation under the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, providing a consumer information service on access to broadband, the Universal Service Obligation arrangements and the interim satellite service, and providing specialist technical advice in relation to declaring premises adequately served by alternative high speed networks.

A further $1.2 million over five years will be provided to the Department of Finance and Deregulation to assist in managing the Government's oversight of the new entity that will be established to manage the Universal Service Obligation.

Further information can be found in the joint press releases of 20 June 2010 issued by the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

See also the related capital measure titled National Broadband Network — revised investment in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

National Broadband Network — regulatory framework

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Australian Communications and Media Authority 1.8 1.6 1.9 1.9
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 1.7 1.7 1.3 1.0
Total 3.5 3.3 3.1 2.9
Related revenue ($m)
Australian Communications and Media Authority 3.5 3.3 3.1 2.9

The Government will provide $12.8 million over four years to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to establish and deliver the proposed regulatory arrangements for the National Broadband Network (NBN) set out in NBN Co Limited's (NBN Co) Statement of Expectations.

Funding of $7.2 million over four years will be provided to the ACMA to develop and monitor implementation of appropriate network standards and codes, including implementing a compliance, auditing and monitoring program.

The Government will also provide a further $5.6 million over four years to the ACCC, for competition analysis and monitoring, including regularly monitoring the level of transmission services provided by other wholesale providers to NBN Co points of interconnect, and setting appropriate benchmarks for transmission services to facilitate retail service providers' access to uniform national wholesale prices.

The costs of this measure will be fully recovered by the ACMA from annual carrier licence charges collected under the Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Act 1997.

Further information can be found in the joint press releases of 20 December 2010 issued by the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

See also the related capital measure titled National Broadband Network — revised investment in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

National Transmission Network — Residual Funding Pool — cessation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy ‑0.1 ‑0.5 ‑1.0 ‑1.0

The Government will achieve savings of $2.7 million over four years by ceasing the National Transmission Network — Residual Funding Pool.

The Residual Funding Pool was established in 1999, after the sale of the National Transmission Network (NTN) by the Commonwealth, to help ensure certain community radio, remote commercial radio and remote commercial television services would continue to be subsidised for the costs of sharing infrastructure on the privatised NTN. Commitments for community radio have been transferred to the Community Broadcasting Program and will continue.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Review of communications regulation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 1.5 1.6

The Government will provide $3.1 million over two years to conduct a review of communications regulation.

The review will be conducted by an independent committee and will examine the operation of media and communications regulation in Australia, and assess its effectiveness in promoting a competitive and efficient media and communications sector in an environment of increased digital convergence. The review is expected to be finalised in 2012.

Funding for this initiative will be fully offset by reducing amounts held in the Contingency Reserve to support Australia's transition from analog to digital television.

Further information can be found in the press release of 14 December 2010 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Review of the Australian Government's Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector — interim response

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 15.2

The Government will provide $15.2 million in 2011‑12 to continue funding for National Indigenous Television (NITV) while the response to the Review of the Australian Government's Investment in the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Sector (the Review) is implemented.

In response to the recommendations of the Review, responsibility for Indigenous broadcasting programs will be transferred to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

During 2011‑12, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will negotiate with NITV to develop a more sustainable structure to enable it to provide more original Indigenous content on free‑to‑air television.

Further information can be found in the press release of 6 April 2011 issued by the Minister for Arts, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Spectrum — digital dividend and 2.5GHz band — valuing, replanning and auctioning

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Australian Communications and Media Authority 2.8 2.7 0.9
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 1.1 0.8
Total 3.9 3.4 0.9

The Government will provide $8.3 million over three years to support the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz (digital dividend) and 2.5GHz bands and the associated preparatory work required in the lead‑up to the auction, including the valuation, planning, licensing framework and auction process.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will clear the relevant parts of the spectrum bands, develop technical specifications for the new uses of the spectrum bands, establish the auction process and issue licences to the successful bidders. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will negotiate clearance terms with the television broadcasting industry who use the 2.5GHz band for electronic news gathering, and conduct a more detailed valuation of the spectrum bands prior to auction.

The Government announced its decision to replan and restack digital television services in the 2009‑10 Budget.

Spectrum — reissue of 15‑year licences

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 1.4

The Government will provide $1.4 million in 2010‑11 to enable consultation with industry and the engagement of expert advice to facilitate the renewal of expiring 15‑year spectrum licences.

Key spectrum licences are due to expire in the period 2013 to 2017. Reissue of the 15‑year spectrum licences will provide ongoing access to spectrum for current and next generation communication services.

Spectrum licence renewal is being offered to those telecommunications incumbents who are already using their spectrum licences to provide services to Australian consumers, or who have in place networks capable of providing services to significant numbers of consumers, provided they meet certain public interest criteria.

Spectrum licences that are not being offered for renewal will be considered separately by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in accordance with existing legislation.

Funding for this initiative will be fully offset by reducing amounts held in the Contingency Reserve to support Australia's transition from analog to digital television.

Further information can be found in the press releases of 4 March and 26 November 2010 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Untimed Local Calls in the Extended Zones — continuation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 2.2

The Government will provide up to $2.2 million in 2011‑12 to give customers in the extended zones access to untimed local calls. Section 107 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act 1999 (the Act) requires regulations or other arrangements to be in place to provide customers in the extended zones with access to untimed local calls.

There are 102 extended zones, of which 98 are active, ranging in size from 8,400 to 304,000 square kilometres. They are located in the most sparsely populated areas of Australia. Within these zones, which cover close to 80 per cent of Australia's land area, there are approximately 40,000 telephone services.

The Government will provide funding in 2011‑12 to the current service provider, Telstra, with the funding arrangements from 1 July 2012 to be addressed following the outcome of the review of telecommunication retail price controls.

Voluntary Internet Filtering Grants Program — cessation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy ‑5.5 ‑2.2 ‑1.9

The Government will not proceed with the Voluntary Internet Filtering Grants Program. This will provide savings of $9.6 million over three years.

The Government provided $9.8 million in the 2010‑11 Budget to establish the Voluntary Internet Filtering Grants Program to assist internet service providers (ISPs) to offer customers internet filtering options on a commercial basis. However, consultation with industry has identified limited interest in the grants due to the increasing range of filtering technologies readily available to online users, including browser and search engine filters, and the decision of the three largest ISPs, which account for over 70 per cent of Australian internet users, to voluntarily filter child abuse sites using a list compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

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