ABC and SBS will be forced to find an extra $1.2 million a year to keep broadcasting to regional Australians, after transmission tower operators RBA Holdings said it could no longer afford to maintain them.
ABC managing director David Anderson told Senate estimates last week the public broadcasters they’d need to find an extra $600,000 per year each to maintain transmission towers in 77 locations across Australia.
Around 1000 homes in East Grove in Goulburn and in Bermagui on the Far South Coast have already lost their signal.
Anderson said he said he was concerned about the impact on residents heading into emergency broadcasting season. But there were no guarantees other sites would not face similar issues.
While ABC and SBS were now in “constructive discussions” about a solution, Anderson said it was an additional cost the broadcasters would likely have to absorb.
“We’re just simply going to have to find that from somewhere,” he said.
While residents could pay for satellite access to VAST, it would be an extra cost on households for a service they had previously received for free.
“It’s imperative that we find a solution immediately,” Anderson said.
The ABC has received no extra funding in the 2020 budget to pay to maintain the towers.
Source: Newcastle Herald