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Broadcast Spectrum Buyback Proposal Would Hurt TV Networks

Proposed reforms that would reduce the amount of radiofrequency spectrum used by Australian TV broadcasters would impact the ability to provide HD quality broadcasts and speciality channels, the free-to-air networks say.

The proposals, brought by the Government last November, suggest compressing the available spectrum offered to TV networks, with the newly-available 600mHZ space to be sold off to telcos operating fast mobile networks. In exchange for the decreased spectrum, all licencing fees for the space would be scrapped.

Television networks are worried this move is short-sighted, as the MPEG-4 technology used to compress the spectrum will quickly become outdated.

“It is critical that all Australians continue to have access to free and universally available television services into the future,” Free TV chief executive Bridget Fair said.

“A strong local media sector is central to our sense of national identity and our democracy and this should be the overriding consideration in any review of future technology and regulation.

“Any proposal for regulatory or technology change should be measured by whether it will secure a strong future for commercial television over the next decade and beyond.”

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