The Government has issued a bill that will allow the free-to-air networks in Australia to transmit their shows in high definition.
According to Business Insider, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull read The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Primary Television Broadcasting Service) in Parliament.
“At present, free-to-air broadcasters are required to provide their primary television service in standard definition. This is a relic of the analog era, introduced at the start of the digital television switchover process to ensure that viewers would have access to at least one digital channel per broadcaster,” he reportedly said.
“This government is committed to removing unnecessary and outdated regulations that hamper industry from providing services that respond to audience preferences.
“High-definition television equipment is now virtually ubiquitous in Australian homes.”
The announcement was welcomed with open arms by industry body FreeTV.
Free TV CEO Julie Flynn said, “This is a win for viewers as it will give broadcasters the flexibility to screen more premium content in HD.
“In a digital environment, it doesn’t make sense to limit the primary service to Standard Definition. We welcome this as a first step to allowing free-to-air broadcasters to deliver more enhanced services to all Australians, for free.
“These positive changes may take some time to implement for each broadcaster, depending on the resolution of technical and rights issues.
“This is a move in the right direction. However, we still have a long way to go. The Australian television industry is facing unprecedented challenges, including some of the highest broadcaster licence fees in the world and the entry of largely unregulated global content providers.
“We commend the government and urge them to implement further deregulation measures to allow free-to-air broadcasters to remain competitive so they can continue to deliver these highly valued services to all Australians for free,” said Flynn.