'A household is eligible for assistance where they own a functioning TV, do not already have access to digital TV and where at least one resident is receiving the maximum rate of the: Age Pension; Disability Support Pension; Carer Payment; Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Service Pension; or DVA income-support supplement payment.'
According to the Budget papers the Government will provide $376.5 million over four years to facilitate switchover from analogue to digital television in regional areas of New South Wales and Western Australia, remote areas in Central, Eastern and Western Australia, and in metropolitan areas. The switchover is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
The funding covers in'‘home assistance for eligible households and a programme to work with industry to drive digital take'‘up by consumers and an information and communications campaign.
This measure also includes funding of $2.4 million over four years to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to identify areas without access to digital television services and funding of $42.2 million over four years for the Department of Human Services to provide support for the delivery of assistance for eligible households.
Speaking to iTWire from New York where he has been meeting companies about a new Kogan branded product, Mr Kogan said the same impact could be achieved for $50 million. He said it would be possible to provide much cheaper set top boxes to pensioners, allowing them to continue to watch TV after the analogue signal is switched off.
While set top boxes work well in most residential settings, their efficacy in nursing homes or aged care facilities is less assured, and many aged care providers - which provide homes to many pensioners - have been concerned about the transition to digital TV for their residents.
Mr Kogan said 'I know about aged care - my mum's a nurse and works in a Salvation Army place.' He said that even given the challenges in some locations the installation costs that the Government was talking about 'seem a bit excessive'.
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