The West

Launch: Stephen Conroy at the Moresby transmission tower.
Launch: Stephen Conroy at the Moresby transmission tower.

Yesterday marked a momentous day in Geraldton’s history with the switch-on of digital commercial television.

The long-awaited digital revolution came with a simple flick of a switch, at a transmission tower in the Moresby Ranges.

Geraldton residents now have full access to 16 digital channels, from broadcasters GWN7, WIN, TenWest, SBS and the ABC.

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, was in Geraldton to personally flick the switch on digital TV.

“It’s great to be with you for what really is milestone in the history of television in Geraldton,” he said.

“I know the people of Geraldton and elsewhere in regional and remote WA have waited a long time for this day.

Today viewers in Geraldton will go from having just two analogue commercial TV channels to getting the full suite.

“This means you’ve got the same 16 channels as everybody else in Perth and the rest of Australia.”

Mr Conroy admitted that it was not satisfactory that Geraldton had to wait so long for the digital service.

The arrival of digital TV was delayed months due to problems with infrastructure and connection.

“Is it satisfactory that it’s taken 112 years since federation for Geraldton to get equal services? No,” he said.

“But the Gillard Government is delivering equal TV services to every Australian, something that no previous government has ever delivered.”

Geraldton households can now join the more than 1.6 million households around the country in accessing digital-only TV.

Mr Conroy said the Federal Government had delivered the digital switch-over project on time and under budget.

He said it had also provided assistance to more than 100,000 pensioners to go digital under its Household Assistance Scheme.

“The changes require some upgrade in equipment, (but) you don’t have to buy a new digital television, that’s the most important thing,” he said.

The analogue TV signal will be switched off in December next year.

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