Bills Digest No. 179  1997-98 Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Bill 1998


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WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Bill 1998

Date Introduced: 8 April 1998

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts

Commencement: Royal Assent

Purpose

To impose charges on the providers of datacasting services.

Background

This Bill is a revenue measure associated with the Television Broadcasting Service (Digital Conversion) Bill 1998 (Digital Conversion Bill), which amends the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to provide for the introduction of digital television.

Datacasting services are those involving the transmission of a digital signal (which could be in the form of data, text, image or sound) and which utilise the spare capacity of the spectrum allocated to the ABC, SBS and commercial television broadcasters for the conversion to digital television.

The charge is being imposed to prevent the television broadcasters using their free spectrum to compete unfairly against service providers who were required to pay for spectrum use.

It is an objective of the Digital Conversion Bill that the national (ABC, SBS) and commercial television broadcasters be permitted to use any spare digital transmission capacity to provide datacasting services [proposed new sections 5(2)(l) and 17(2)(l) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992]. Proposed new section 48 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 provides that a datacasting charge is due and payable in accordance with a written determination by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA). The ABA also makes determinations with regard to the standards to be observed by datacasters.

Note that datacasting services do not include commercial radio services, subscription broadcasting or narrowcasting services, and open narrowcasting services. The national and commercial broadcasters are prohibited from transmitting these services under clauses 10 and 33 of the Digital Conversion Bill.

Readers should consult the Digest of the Television Broadcasting Service (Digital Conversion) Bill 1998 for more detailed information on the digital television issue and the role of the ABA.

Main Provisions

Clause 6 imposes a charge on the national and commercial television broadcasters if they use their transmitters to transmit datacasting services.

Clause 7 provides that the amount of the charge is in accordance with a written determination of the Australian Communications Authority (ACA). The determination is a disallowable instrument.

Note that under proposed new section 50 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 the ACA is first required to report to the Minister on the competitive neutrality principles it employs in developing its proposals for datacasting charges. This report must be tabled.

 

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Kim Jackson
20 April 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members
and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
Commonwealth of Australia 1998

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998.



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