This program supports the extension of radio and television broadcasting to all citizens and communities in PNG. The UAS Board and NICTA aim to support the growth of the broadcasting sector through targeted use of UAS Fund resources to close gaps and assist low income consumers where the broadcasting market may not reach. This activity will focus on support for infrastructure expansion, primarily through enhancement or installation of broadcast antennae on existing or new towers, in close coordination with the rollout of mobile telecommunications infrastructure under Program 1, as well as potential assistance for low-income households with the costs of the digital broadcasting transition, via discounts on set-top boxes. The main components of the program include:
- Broadcasting Infrastructure Expansion
This component focuses on providing financial support through the UAS Fund for enhancement of transmission towers and installation of antennae and related equipment required to extend the reach of radio and television broadcast signals into unserved and underserved areas. NICTA will work with broadcasting entities to identify gaps in signal coverage, and develop investment plans to expand broadcast networks into populated areas. Projects will generally be designed to coordinate with mobile network infrastructure rollout, so that tower construction and equipment installation can be aligned in the most cost-effective manner
- Affordable Digital Transition: Set-Top Boxes
This component will address the requirement that broadcast television viewers must have access to digital reception under the new digital broadcasting standards. For those without access to digital-ready television sets, this requires obtaining TV converter devices (set-top boxes) to allow their sets to receive the new digital signals. The consequence of this policy, which is beneficial to the entire broadcasting industry, could pose financial hardships upon low income households.
The UAS Board and NICTA will therefore investigate developing subsidy Projects to support the cost of digital TV set-top boxes for lower income users. Such Projects will aim to ensure that all households in the country which require digital converters will obtain them in a timely manner, at low, affordable prices, with a minimum of delay or confusion. NICTA will conduct an analysis of the levels of need and costs, and will prepare a plan that provides the most affordable solutions possible.