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Nov 4, 2005

Helen Coonan and her dodgy digital devices

Digital Broadcast Australia, part of the Millionaire Factory's fleet of infrastructure fee-generating businesses, hasn't impressed the Federal Communications Minister, Senator Helen


Digital Broadcast Australia, part of the
Millionaire Factory’s fleet of infrastructure fee-generating
businesses, hasn’t impressed the Federal Communications Minister,
Senator Helen Coonan.

At this week’s Senate Estimates Committee
hearing in Canberra, the Minister was asked by Labor’s Senator Stephen
Conroy if she was “trialling” any new media equipment.

She said no…except for a new digital video broadcast gizmo and a new digital radio from Digital Broadcast Australia.

may remember how a couple of years ago various members of the
government were given flash new digital plasma TVs to trial by Telstra.
One of those lucky enough to get a telly was Coonan’s predecessor,
Senator Richard Alston. So it was no wonder than during the quizzing of
her department, the Minister had this exchange with Senator Conroy.

Senator CONROY: Have you received any gifts or loans from any media or telecommunications companies this year?

Senator Coonan: Sadly, not that I am aware of, so it cannot have been very large if it was.

Senator CONROY: So you are not trialling any equipment?

Coonan: No. I might have something called a DVBH. That is part of the
trial that is being conducted by Broadcast Australia.

Senator CONROY: That little hand-held one?

Senator Coonan: Yes, somebody gave me one.

Senator CONROY: How is it going? Is it working?

Senator Coonan: Unfortunately not – not unless you stand near a window.

Senator CONROY: That is a bummer.

Coonan: I have also just been told there is a digital radio from
Broadcast Australia that does not get very many stations. So I am not
doing too well.

Senator CONROY: You are not doing too well. That is disappointing.

Senator Coonan: I try to understand what is available.

Senator CONROY: I wish it was working better, that is all.

Senator Coonan: I do too.

That’s bad news for the urgers at DBA and its masters at the Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group.

is digital video broadcast to hand-held devices and is supposed to be
mobile. From what the Minister said to the Senate Committee, it doesn’t
even seem to work very well.

Early days yet, but an unimpressed
minister is not a good advertisement for DBA’s campaign to somehow
snaffle some free broadcasting spectrum for its hand-held service


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