ABC, SBS face new costs for regional broadcasting

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


  1. Regional Commerical Broadcasters were paying RBA Holdings to maintain and manage their regional transmitters, and were allowing the ABC and SBS to piggy-back on them for free. The Commerical Broadcasters are now focusing on funding streaming and VAST to deliver digital TV in regional and remote areas so are not going to maintain the transmitters. The ABC and SBS have 1.2b between them they can find 1/1000 of that to keep 77 transmitters operational.

  2. So people in wealthier parts of the country such as Sydney and Melbourne get the ABC for free but the poorest most remote areas have to pay for VAST.

    Just pay for the damn towers, seriously

  3. the sooner we have a better NBN and to refocus all these services onto free streaming platform the better. Problem is.. we will never get a better NBN

  4. … this issue has been festering along for thirty-five years as a result of decisions made by the Hawke government and needs some concrete, bi-partisan decisions … it’s not just RBA on behalf of regional commercial operators, there are numerous councils and other groups who have been funding the installation and maintenance of TV re-transmission sites across the country and if there is a precedent set for RBA there will be hands out all over Australia in areas that were defined as being serviced by direct satellite (first RABS and RCTS, now VAST), but where people have managed to establish these sites for themselves. It’s being painted here as a singular ABC issue … it’s not …

  5. It’s always poor ABC.
    Nothing is said about terrible management decisions.
    They could always move from the lefty inner Sydney to Dubbo or Bourke. I’m sure the federal government would assist in funds for the move.

  6. Why doesn’t the federal government give more funding for the ABC,in regional Australia it is essential in Bush fire season,or is this a ploy to further crush the national network of even more money,they can find millions continuously to Murdoch & Foxtel.Helping his mates again, what about the community at large,common Scomo help regional people to be safe, please!!?

    • Its probably more to do with changing technology, the regional areas, especially those with remote small populations will eventually get access to updated new satellite services, but I doubt it will be for free.

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