Analogue TV signals were permanently turned off in Sydney, then Melbourne and remote central eastern Australia this month, leaving digital-only reception. The Sydney switchoff was Australia’s largest to date, involving more than 1.7 million households, it was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. Australia began digital transmission in 2001, and the current number of homes on digital TV numbers 8.7 million in a country of 22 million.
The three regions were the last remaining analogue broadcasting areas, so the country’s digital switchover is complete. Viewers in those areas will now need to obtain a digital TV, digital set-top box or digital recorder for their analogue TV to continue having access to free-to-air television. The government’s communications department estimated that around 104,000 households in Sydney were not ready for the switch at the beginning of December.
Australian authorities have been providing assistance and subsidy schemes to help households with the switchover, and these will remain open into the new year.
Neighbouring New Zealand completed digital TV transition slightly earlier – turning off its last remaining analogue signals on 1 November this year.