The ACMA is proposing to adopt a set of principles to use as guidance when considering whether to deem a community licence area under subsection 8AD(3) of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).
This would enable community radio broadcasting services in these areas to broadcast in digital.
Community radio broadcasting licensees need access to digital multiplex capacity to transmit digital services under the current legislation for digital radio.
To provide digital radio services, a community radio broadcasting licencee needs to have been either:
- planned in a relevant commercial radio licence area
- had its licence area deemed by the BSA or the ACMA to be the same as a specified licence area.
For the expansion of digital radio into regional Australia, there are three proposed overarching principles that ACMA intend to apply when considering whether to deem a community licence area under subsection 8AD(3) of the BSA:
- There is spare capacity on the relevant digital radio multiplex transmitter (within the two-ninth allocation for community radio broadcasting services).
- There is significant correlation between the commercial and community licence areas.
- The community interests represented by the relevant community radio broadcasting licences are relevant to the commercial licence area.
The ACMA is seeking comments on the three proposed overarching principles and also welcome comments on any other issues relevant to license area deeming for digital radio in regional Australia.
The ACMA has already indicated to radio industry representatives through the Digital Radio Planning Committee that they will prepare a digital radio channel plan for any commercial radio licence area where at least one commercial or community radio broadcasting licensee has committed to deploying digital radio services.