The Australian Federal Government will provide Melbourne and Adelaide community television stations, C31 and C44, with a final 12-month extension of their television licences to assist them in finalising the transition to digital delivery of their services.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Government agreed to the extension following receipt of written undertakings from C31 and C44 that they will make the transition by 30 June 2021, and in C31’s case, with financial support secured from the Victorian Government.
“The final extension will allow a period for C31 and C44 to manage their day to day operations and take all the necessary steps to complete the transition.
“C31 and C44 staff and volunteers have a defined period to work through their plans, engage proactively with their communities and stakeholders, and educate and guide them on how to access content online.
“The Government has received a clear written assurance from both channels that they will cease their television services by 30 June 2021.
“Spectrum is a scarce and valuable community resource which needs to be managed in a way that delivers the best value to the Australian public. The Government continues to examine the potential options for using the vacated broadcast spectrum.”
Community television stations were initially notified in 2014 that the Government would require them to vacate terrestrial spectrum on 31 December 2015 and thereafter move online.
The Government has since provided several extensions and funding to community television operators to assist with the transition.