Digital TV Reception in Boolarra – Dec. 2010

The following information is being published in an attempt to explain what is know at the moment about digital TV reception, as the changeover from analogue to digital TV transmission could have a profound effect on reception in Boolarra.
The Federal Government has announced that the changeover at the repeater station in Bunderra Drive will take place in February 2011. They are saying that this will happen on one day. In other words there will be no joint transmission trial. One day will be analogue and the next day will be digital. The main transmitter at Mt Tassie, which transmits to the Valley generally, will be switched over in May 2011 also on one day.
In regard to the Boolarra repeater station, Latrobe City have announced, after extensive lobbying by the Boolarra Community Development Group, that they have agreed to the offer by the broadcasters to upgrade the equipment at both Boolarra and Jeeralang, on the condition that Latrobe City install air conditioning in the two repeater stations and continue to maintain them for the next 10 years.
The Municipal Association Victoria have advertised (last week) for people to be appointed as digital changeover agents and one of these people will be allocated to Latrobe City. Their role will be to service the requirements of all residents affected.
The Federal Government strategy means that the Boolarra/Jeeralang repeater stations must be ready in February 2011, otherwise the residents who depend on those repeater stations will not get any reception at all.
At this stage there is no way of knowing who will get signals from the Boolarra station, who will get it from Mt Tassie or who will not get it at all unless they tune into the satellite. Whatever is required to get digital reception will require a change in equipment and this could include new receivers, set top boxes, new antenna’s or satellite dishes. The Federal Government is saying that there will be subsidies to cover some of the cost on an individual basis but the level is unclear.
The Boolarra Community Development Group (BCDG) will invite the changeover agent to come to one of our meetings as soon as he/she is appointed. Residents will need advice on what to do to get the best reception at minimum cost and minimum disruption. This will mean being alert to what is happening and making decisions about new equipment.
Some residents are getting good digital reception now and others are getting high definition analogue on new TV receivers. Many others do not know what the options are. Some reception seems to have improved as a result of the fires but as the terrain recovers this could change.
Clarification of the options will be a high priority of the BCDG and assistance provided where possible but at present there is a high degree of uncertainty.
We will engage with Latrobe City seeking regular updates and both our State and Federal Members to ensure minimum disruption.

Les Hunt
BCDG