Bills Digest No. 180  1999-2000Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Amendment Bill 2000


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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
Endnotes
Contact Officer & Copyright Details

Passage History

Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Amendment Bill 2000

Date Introduced: 10 May 2000

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Commencement: At the same time as Schedule 6 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 which is being added by the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Digital Television and Datacasting) Bill 2000.

Purpose

To amend the Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Act 1998 (the Principal Act) to:

  • reflect the new approach to defining datacasting services in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), and
  • to ensure that datacasting charges will not be imposed for current teletext services.

Background

Datacasting

This Bill accompanies the Broadcasting Services (Digital Television and Datacasting) Amendment Bill 2000 (the DTaD Bill), which will establish a new regulatory regime for datacasting. Readers should consult the Digest of that Bill for background on this issue.(1)

Teletext Services

Teletext services, or textual information displayed through television, have been provided for a number of years. This Bill will ensure that the datacasting charges introduced as part of the conversion to digital television broadcasting will not apply to such services as long as they remain substantially in their current form.

Main Provisions

The Principal Act imposes a charge to prevent television broadcasters using their free spectrum to compete unfairly against service providers who are required to pay for spectrum use. The amount of the charge is set under section 7 of the Act by the Australian Communications Authority. It is intended that the charge be set at a level that is competitively neutral when compared to the price paid by datacasters for competitively allocated channels.(2)

Items 1 and 3 of Schedule 1 amend Section 3 of the Principal Act to insert definitions of 'BSA datacasting licence' and 'designated teletext service'.

The definition of 'BSA datacasting licence' refers to the definition of datacasting licence under Schedule 6 of the BSA. Schedule 6 is inserted by the DTaD Bill. The definition of datacasting licence in turn refers to the term 'datacasting service'.

Item 12 of the DTaD Bill inserts a new broad definition of datacasting service into subsection 6(1) of the BSA. It is a service which delivers content in the form of text, data, speech, music, other sounds, visual images or in any other form or in any combination of forms to people with appropriate equipment for receiving the content. The service must also be delivered using the broadcasting services bands.

Item 2 of the Bill ensures that the meaning of 'datacasting services' is the same as in the BSA.

Item 75 of the DTaD Bill inserts a new definition of 'designated teletext service' into clause 2 of Schedule 4 of the BSA. This term refers to a teletext service provided by a commercial television broadcaster for a two year period prior to the start of schedule 6(3) of the BSA which remains substantially the same beyond the expiry of that period.

Item 4 of Schedule 1 inserts proposed paragraph 6(da) in the Principal Act. Section 6 of the Act sets out the circumstances under which a datacasting charge is imposed. The new paragraph excludes designated teletext services from this imposition.

Endnotes

  1. Bills Digest, no. 179, 1999-2000.
  2. Hon. Warwick Smith, Second Reading Speech for
    Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Bill 1998, House of Representatives, Hansard 8 April 1998, p 2832.

  3. Schedule 6 of the BSA is the new datacasting regime.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Kim Jackson and Mark Tapley
9 June 2000
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 2000

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, 2000.

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