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9 May 2006

Parts of the Circular Head municipality will be able to access SBS for the first time, and regular viewers will receive improved reception when the television network's two new analogue transmitters go live this week.

The two new transmitters - one at Smithton and one at Lileah - will provide better coverage, a clearer picture and hopefully fewer transmission interruptions. The new transmitters are the result of a Federal Government initiative, prompted by enquiries from Circular Head Council.

Mr Hugh James, Manager Communications Strategy and Planning at SBS Corporation said the new transmitters are part of recent Government decisions to extend SBS TV coverage to towns of at least 3000 people. Twenty-two sites across Australia, including Lileah and Smithton, are included in this rollout.

While some of these towns have previously received SBS through "Self Help" transmitters owned and operated by the local communities - in this case, Circular Head Council - the new arrangement will result in the Commonwealth Government paying for the installation and maintenance of the services.

From May 12 the Smithton transmitter will broadcast SBS on Channel 38 at 597.25MHz. The Lileah (Willis Hill) transmitter will go live on May 10. The channel number will be 53, broadcast at 702.224MHz.

SBS has contracted the provision of the Lileah and Smithton to Broadcast Australia.

According to Joseph Gittani, Project Manager at Broadcast Australia, most residents of Circular Head will not need to retune their televisions.

"Existing viewers of channel 38 from Smithton currently enjoying a good service should continue to do so without the need to alter to their TV sets." said Mr Gittani.

"The viewers that watch WIN on channel 50 from Lileah will be able to receive the new SBS service by tuning their television to channel 53. Viewers that watch ABC on channel 32 from Smithton will be able to receive the new SBS service by tuning their television to channel 38.

Overall the SBS coverage for the greater Smithton area will be improved with the additional coverage supplied by the Lileah site."

When the new transmitters are operational, Council will switch off its re-transmission service.

The new transmitters will effectively mean SBS is broadcast and maintained directly by Broadcast Australia and not re-transmitted by Circular Head Council's telecommunications towers, as has been the case. Mr Gittani said that current SBS viewers "will experience minor service interruptions during the service cutover phase."

The recent SBS TV extensions to Tasmania are being provided under the Commonwealth Governments Regional Communications Partnership and the project is using part of the funds received as a result of the partial sale of Telstra.

Soccer aficionados in particular will be pleased that the upgraded service will be operational prior to the network's broadcast of the FIFA World Cup from Germany in June and July.

As a community service Circular Head Council also re-transmits Triple J and will continue to do so, as the ABC has no plans to fund direct transmission at this time.

Further enquiries may be directed to Daryl Polzin by telephoning mobile 0418 144 731.

Authorised for general media distribution by Greg Winton, General Manager, Circular Head Council on Monday 8 May 2006.