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Minister to investigate Echuca residents' complaints

Member for Murray Sharman Stone has urged Echuca residents with poor digital television reception to contact her Shepparton office.

RUTH CLAYTON November 12, 2012 4:22am

Federal Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy has committed to investigating complaints from Echuca residents who have poor digital television reception.

The commitment follows an article in the Riv on November 2, which outlined one Echuca resident’s complaints about poor reception.

Member for Murray Sharman Stone has urged Echuca residents suffering from poor digital television reception to contact her office.

‘‘A number of residents have contacted my office to complain of having a substandard reception since the analog switch off and full conversion to digital television,’’ Dr Stone said.

‘‘There have been many letters sent with only non-committal replies from the minister and conversations with his office.’’

Echuca receives digital services from more than one transmitter source, one in Bendigo and one in the Goulburn Valley, depending on which way the antenna is facing.

Dr Stone said Mr Conroy’s office had suggested Echuca residents with antennas pointing at the Goulburn Valley transmitter site, rather than the Bendigo site, could be the cause of the problems.

One response from Mr Conroy’s advisor read, ‘‘Coverage of Echuca from the Bendigo transmitter site is predicted to be very good, provided they have the correct antenna set-up’’.

‘‘Coverage of Echuca from the Goulburn-Valley transmitter site, on the other hand, is predicted to be variable because the signal from the Goulburn Valley site has not been planned to provide good coverage for the Echuca area, even with the correct antenna set-up.’’

Mr Conroy’s office also suggested rusty or upside down antennas could be part of the problem.

However, according to Dr Stone, the patterns of disturbance or poor reception suggest there is some form of electrical interference going on.

‘‘Some people complain that their TV reception fades at certain times of the night only,’’ Dr Stone said.

‘‘It will be helpful if we can get a better sense of the geographic spread and timing of the problems.’’

Dr Stone said Mr Conroy’s office took no responsibility for the poor reception in the Echuca region and ‘‘continues to blame either poor equipment or poor set up of this equipment as the cause of this very widespread reception fault’’.

Complaints can be made via Dr Stone’s website at www.sharmanstone.com or by phone on 58215371 or 1300132413.

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