The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has released costings for the Household Assistance Scheme (HAS) that contradict claims by The Australian.
The Household Assistance Scheme is a program that provides practical, in-home assistance to the needy to help them switchover to digital television. Calculations printed in The Australian newspaper stated that “every” installation of a set top box could cost an average of $698.
“The calculations are completely false and the method used to calculate them is intellectually dishonest,” Senator Conroy said.
According to the Minister, the statistics from the Queensland module of the program indicate that the cost of installing a specially designed set top box starts at $158 for a household in a large regional city that includes a 12-month in-home after care warranty.
Conroy also said some households might only need a set-top box or a new aerial to be installed.
However, he stated that the cost for an installation of a set top box in a household in a small country town, including a full antenna upgrade, rises to $492 and the cost of installing one in remote outback Queensland town, including the installation of a satellite dish, decoder and new wiring, could reach $1528.
“In these instances, installers must often travel great distances to attend households and complete installations that involve far more than simply connecting a set top box and tuning to the television,” he said.
Thus far, Senator Conroy had refrained from providing indicative average costs. However, he released the information as he wanted to correct misinformation and ensure ongoing confidence in the scheme.
“Today the Scheme, through ill-informed media reporting, was severely misrepresented. For this reason I have decided to release an indicative price range to quell the myths circulating around this program.”
“The set top boxes used in the HAS program are not the sort of set-top boxes that can be bought on a palette”.
To date, the program has delivered set top boxes to more than 81,000 households.