Government mandating digital television

This challenge has been complicated in recent years by rapid and far-reaching changes in technology and market structures, not to mention evolving public needs.As competition in the telecommunications marketplace becomes more acute and as the competitive dynamics of TV broadcasting change, the capacities of the free marketplace to serve public ends is being tested as never before.Currently, there are simulcasts of analogue and digital television.Taiwan plans to replace analogue broadcasting with a digital system by 2014 after the analogue cable broadcast terminated."Given the current level of digital take-up, an analog switch-off date of 2008 in metropolitan areas seems unachievable.We need a Digital Action Plan to drive digital take-up and a plan for the transition to the point where Australia will be ready to end the expensive simulcast period," Senator Coonan said.It has been an ambitious enterprise, imperfectly realized.Part of the challenge has been to use public policy, with all its strengths and limitations, to integrate vital public goals into a commercial milieu.

Some initiatives have sought to help underserved audience-constituencies such as children, minorities and the disabled.

In many respects, the two goals have been quite complementary, as seen in the development of network news operations, and in the variety of cultural, educational and public affairs programming that has been aired over the years.

In other respects, however, Congress and the FCC have sometimes concluded that the broadcast marketplace by itself is not adequately serving public needs.

Submissions are now being called for in response to the issues paper, which is available here.

Submissions in response to the issues paper should be made to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts by Tuesday 8 November 2005.

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