The Australian Government has helped 25 000 households convert to digital TV through the Household Assistance Scheme, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced today.
Senator Conroy was on hand for the 25 000th installation at the home of Mr Kenneth Howgate in Wendouree, Victoria.
“Regional Victoria will be switching to digital-only free-to-air television on 5 May 2011 and the government’s Household Assistance Scheme is helping ensure that all Victorians, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and their carers, are ready for the switchover,” Senator Conroy said.
“The switchover to digital TV is a historic change to the way free-to-air TV is broadcast in Australia,” Senator Conroy said. “Through this Scheme people such as Mr Howgate will be able to enjoy all of the benefits of digital TV, including greater program choice from more channels, and better sound and picture quality.”
Mr Howgate said he was pleased to be part of the switchover to digital TV.
“I am very happy to now be fully hooked up and to have made the switchover to digital television. The choice of programs and also the quality of sound and picture that comes with digital TV is wonderful and I particularly look forward to all the sport that the new digital channels will be showing,” Mr Howgate said.
Member for Ballarat and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King MP, said the Household Assistance Program had proved to be hugely successful in ensuring that vulnerable Australians did not miss out on the benefits of digital television.
“A person is eligible for the Scheme where they do not already have access to digital TV and they are in receipt of the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Service Pension, or DVA income-support supplement payment,” Ms King said.
“The Government is committed to ensuring people without other means of support are fully assisted to enable them to continue to enjoy their favourite TV shows – and access a great range of new channels – after the switch off of analog television signals,” Ms King said.
Senator Conroy said approximately 120 000 households across Regional Victoria were eligible for assistance through the Scheme, which provides eligible households with a high-definition set top box and completes a full installation and demonstration at no cost to the recipient.
Potentially eligible households in Victoria will have received a letter from Centrelink inviting them to participate in the Scheme. These people can apply for assistance by calling Centrelink on 1800 55 64 43.
The Household Assistance Scheme will continue to be available in regional Victoria until one month after the switchover date of 5 May 2011. The Scheme opens to eligible households in each switchover region six months before the switch off of the analog television signal.
Mr Howgate’s installation was performed by Mark Curwood from Techlife who is an endorsed antenna installer engaged by Hills Industries, the master contractor for the delivery of the Household Assistance Scheme in South-West Victoria.
Senator Conroy said that more than 2500 households in Mildura/Sunraysia, and more than
10 000 households in Regional South Australia and Broken Hill, have been helped in switching to digital TV through the Household Assistance Scheme since its commencement in January 2010.
Further information about the switch to digital-only television, including the timetable for analog switch off, is available at www.digitalready.gov.au or by calling 1800 20 10 13.