Australian Government, 2012‑13 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Audio description services — trial

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1.5 - - - -

The Government will provide $1.5 million in 2011‑12 for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to conduct a trial of audio description technology services, which provide additional verbal commentary to improve access to electronic media for people with a visual impairment.

The trial will aim to identify and solve technical issues regarding the broadcast of audio description in Australia, raise awareness of audio description within the industry and amongst other key stakeholders and obtain information on user requirements.

Further information can be found in the press release of 22 February 2012 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation — regional radio services

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 5.0 - - - -

The Government will provide $7.6 million (including $5.0 million in capital funding in 2011‑12) over five years from 2011‑12 to allow the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to upgrade its radio transmission sites and studios to become compatible with the new Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) signal by 1 January 2014. This upgrade is required to allow the continued transmission of ABC radio services in non‑metropolitan areas following the cessation of the Aurora satellite signal from 31 December 2013.

The ABC will convert a total of 652 radio services located at 367 transmission sites to accept the VAST signal, and upgrade 60 studio sites to both upload and download radio content via VAST.

Digital Productivity — Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Digital Classroom — National Online Education Portal

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - - - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Total - Expense - - - - -
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - - - - -

The Government will provide $19.9 million over three years from 2011‑12 (including $6.0 million in capital funding in 2011‑12) to help students, families and teachers take advantage of the National Broadband Network.

The funding will be used to develop an education portal on the ABC website that will make digital education resources available to students both in and out of the classroom. The portal will also provide access to the ABC's database of contemporary content. The ABC will work with Education Services Australia and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to ensure that the content is aligned with the Australian Curriculum.

Funding for this measure was included as a 'decision taken but not yet announced' in the 2011‑12 Budget.

Further information can be found in the joint press release of 15 December 2011 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth.

This measure is part of the Government's broader digital economy strategy.

Digital Productivity — putting museums online for public access

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - - - - -
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - - - - -
Total - Expense - - - - -
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - - - - -

The Government will provide $2.4 million over two years from 2011‑12 (including $0.4 million in capital funding in 2011‑12 and $0.02 million in 2012‑13) to provide online remote access to national cultural institutions to help demonstrate the opportunities offered by the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Using the high bandwidth capability of the NBN, visitors will be able to undertake virtual tours of these institutions via mobile robots. Users will be able to engage and interact with local visitors and tour guides and will be provided with a range of additional on‑screen information to enhance their experience.

Funding for this measure was included as a 'decision taken but not yet announced' in the 2011‑12 Budget.

This measure is part of the Government's broader digital economy strategy.

Digital Television Switchover — spectrum restacking

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 16.5 39.7 43.9 10.7 -
Australian Communications and Media Authority - - 2.1 1.1 -
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Total - Expense 16.5 39.7 46.0 11.8 -
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - - 0.2 0.2 -
Australian Communications and Media Authority - - 0.1 0.1 -
Total - Capital - - 0.4 0.3 -

The Government will provide $143.2 million over five years (including capital funding of $0.4 million in 2013‑14 and $0.3 million in 2014‑15) to ensure free‑to‑air commercial and national broadcasters vacate the digital dividend spectrum in a timely fashion. This funding will assist broadcasters to replace and retune existing transmission equipment and allow the digital dividend spectrum to be cleared as soon as possible after the switch‑off of analog television services on 31 December 2013.

This measure includes $26.1 million to research, develop, and conduct a communications campaign for the purpose of informing communities about the process. The measure also includes $9.7 million to be provided to the Australian Communication and Media Authority and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to conduct research and an evaluation of the process, respond to inquiries about the digital switchover, and maintain the mySwitch website to provide information about reception questions.

Funding from this measure for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service is not for publication to protect the national broadcasters' position in any future negotiations with service providers.

The cost of this measure will be partially offset by a provision of $53.0 million previously included in the Contingency Reserve for assistance to broadcasters for spectrum restacking.

Further information on the digital dividend can be found in the press release of 24 June 2010 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

National Broadband Network — regional and remote information

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 20.0 - - - -

The Government has provided $20.0 million in 2011‑12 to improve public understanding, address misconceptions and provide updated information about the National Broadband Network (NBN).

These activities will be focused on regional and remote areas where access to the NBN will be provided through fixed wireless and satellite services.

National Broadband Network — support for NBN Co‑Telstra Definitive Agreements

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - - - - -

The Government provided $321.6 million on 30 March 2012 to Telstra to support the Definitive Agreements between NBN Co and Telstra, as agreed in June 2010.

In June 2010, NBN Co and Telstra entered into a series of agreements regarding the use of Telstra's infrastructure and the progressive migration of Telstra's customers to the National Broadband Network. In support of the agreements, the Government committed to provide approximately $2 billion of value through a series of public policy reforms and a payment to Telstra, the value of which equated to $190.0 million post‑tax in net present value terms.

Provision for this funding was included in the Contingency Reserve in the 2011‑12 Budget.

Further information can be found in the joint press release of 7 March 2012 issued by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Special Broadcasting Service Corporation — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - 13.4 21.2 26.3 26.2
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation 5.0 3.0 - - -

The Government will provide an additional $95.2 million over five years (including capital funding of $5.0 million in 2011‑12 and $3.0 million in 2012‑13) to the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS). This additional funding will allow the SBS to maintain the quality and delivery of existing services and upgrade distribution and storage technology. The funding also allows the SBS to increase expenditure on commissioned and acquired content.

Special Broadcasting Service Corporation — free‑to‑air Indigenous television service

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - 12.3 15.6 15.9 16.3
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - 2.9 - - -

The Government will provide $63.0 million over four years (including $2.9 million in capital funding in 2012‑13) to the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation to establish a free‑to‑air Indigenous television service to provide a similar service to the current National Indigenous Television service but with national coverage. The funding also provides for an increase in the number of hours of first‑run Indigenous content from 2013‑14.

Further information can be found in the press release of 1 September 2011 issued by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Spectrum — support for clearance of the 2.5 GHz band

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 15.2 23.2 1.5 -
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4
Total - Expense - 15.6 23.6 1.9 0.4
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - 12.1 - - -

The Government will provide $53.5 million over four years (including capital funding of $12.1 million in 2012‑13) to free‑to‑air commercial television broadcasters and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to facilitate their clearance of the 2.5 gigahertz spectrum band.

The broadcasters are required to vacate part of the 2.5 gigahertz band currently used to cover some sporting, entertainment, cultural and news events. The funding will be used to assist broadcasters to purchase new electronic news gathering equipment capable of operating in alternative spectrum bands.

Partially clearing this spectrum band will allow the Government to proceed with auctioning the rights to use portions of the 2.5 gigahertz spectrum for other services such as mobile broadband.

Terrestrial Equalisation: Additional Services Assistance Plan — rationalisation

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy -2.1 - - - -

The Government will achieve savings of $2.1 million in 2011‑12 from rationalising two existing government initiatives for television transmission delivery services. The two services are the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) and the Terrestrial Equalisation: Additional Services Assistance Plan.

This rationalisation will allow the Government to reduce funding for the Additional Services Assistance Plan while maintaining the equivalent level of services to regional and remote areas of Australia through increased utilisation of the VAST service at no extra cost.

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

Untimed Local Calls in the Extended Zones — continuation

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency - 1.5 - - -

The Government will provide $1.5 million in 2012‑13 to give customers in the extended zones access to untimed local calls. Section 107 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act 1999 requires regulations or other arrangements to be in place to provide customers in the extended zones with access to untimed local calls.

Longer term arrangements for the provision of this service will be determined following consideration of the findings of the Review of Retail Price Controls undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

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