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Did it work? An update on the costs and benefits of the transition to digital TV in Australia

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This article re-evaluates Australia’s transition to digital television. Earlier analysis in this journal, conducted after about a third of the vacated digital dividend spectrum remained unsold following an auction in 2013, found the whole policy had resulted in a net cost to government revenues. After a further auction in 2017 where the remaining spectrum was sold at much higher prices (A$/MHz/pop), this article repeats the evaluation. It finds that digital switchover, now virtually complete, has produced a significant net increase in government revenues. Other conclusions from the original article about the complexity and difficulty of ex ante cost–benefit analysis, the influence of industry structure, and the capacity of government to plan and complete a large spectrum re-farming project, despite contested and shifting ideas about the purpose of the whole project, are confirmed and emphasized.
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Keywords: convergence; cost–benefit analysis; digital TV switchover; digital dividend; mobile broadband; spectrum re-farming

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swinburne University of Technology

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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