Australia Approves Digital Radio Bill

The Australian Parliament has passed legislation allowing for DAB+ digital radio services to rollout in the state capitals by 1 January 2009.
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The Australian Parliament has passed legislation allowing for DAB+ digital radio services to rollout in the state capitals by 1 January 2009.

Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), which represents 98 percent of commercial radio stations, in the country applauded the move.

"Digital radio ushers in a new era for radio ...," said CRA CEO Joan Warner. "The passing of the legislation means consumers will get vastly superior radio services sooner rather than later and it gives industry the certainty it needs to move ahead on the massive investment in broadcasting infrastructure that will be required."

Under the approved legislation, digital radio will take root first in Sydney, New South Wales; Melbourne, Victoria; Brisbane, Queensland; Adelaide, South Australia; Perth, Western Australia; and Hobart, Tasmania.

By starting in the capital cities, however, the legislation did suffer some criticism from opposition parliamentarians who were concerned that rural regions would be inadequately served by a Eureka-147 DAB-based system.

Labor MP Simon Crean introduced an amendment calling for a delay in the digital rollout until the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system could be evaluated. The amendment was defeated in the lower house of Parliament.

The law covers the licensing, planning and regulation of DAB+ services. The Eureka-147 standard was selected because of its wide international acceptance and the range of available receivers, according to parliamentarians.

The bill digest is available as a PDF file.

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