By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: With analogue television signals set to be turned off in 100 days, Senator Stephen Conroy – the minister responsible for the roll out of digital television – has announced that an average of 82 per cent of Australians have already converted to the new digital service.

Regional areas are also well-placed in the lead up to the switchover according to Senator Conroy, with figures indicating that 84 per cent of households in regional Queensland are now connected to the service (as at June 2011), compared to only 46 per cent in early 2009.

“The number of digital-ready households in the Remote Central and Eastern Australia TV licence area – which includes areas of South Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania – has more than doubled since early 2009,” said Senator Conroy.

“This is a great result so far but I encourage all those remaining households to make the switch as soon as possible to avoid a last minute rush.”

Darwin is leading the charge in the lead-up to the digital switchover with a conversion rate of 89 per cent at the end of June. Tasmania follows closely behind on 86 per cent, Adelaide 85 per cent, northern New South Wales 84 per cent, and southern New South Wales 83 per cent.

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Senator Conroy was also pushing the Federal Government’s Household Assistance Scheme (which offers means-tested assistance to help households get digital-ready), with the 50,000th installation under the scheme set to be completed in Rockhampton today.

“50,000 eligible households have so far been provided with the installation and demonstration of a high definition set top box free of charge, marking a significant milestone in the life of the scheme,” Senator Conroy said.

According to the Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy, “to be eligible for assistance under the Household Assistance Scheme a person must receive the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement, own a working TV and not have access to digital TV.”