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
Contact Officer and Copyright Details
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
To impose charges on the providers of datacasting services.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library,
Back to top