Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) the ACMA may:
- determine technical standards in relation to the transmission and reception of digital broadcasting services (Part 9A), and
- register industry codes, and determine industry standards where no code has been developed, that deal with industry activities associated with digital broadcasting services (Part 9B).
Parts 9A and 9B were added to the BSA under the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television) Act 2006 (the Digital TV Act), with effect from 4 May 2007.
The Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum to the Digital TV Act states that:
- the Government’s intention is that new digital services will drive digital take-up, and that the new Part 9A and 9B provisions will ensure that new domestic services are available to the widest possible audience, and
- the ability for the ACMA to set technical standards for digital television broadcasting and datacasting services will assist in minimising the impact on consumers of the transition to new types of services and equipment.
To date, the ACMA has exercised its powers under Part 9A of the BSA to determine two technical standards:
- the Broadcasting Services (Digital Television Format – Audio Component – Transmissions in SDTV Digital Mode) Technical Standard 2007, which was determined in April 2007 to continue requirements in effect under the Broadcasting Service (Digital Television Format Standards) Regulations 2000 which was repealed in May 2007
- the Broadcasting and Datacasting Services (Parental Lock) Technical Standard 2010, which was determined in July 2010 to require that particular domestic reception equipment has parental lock capabilities, or distributes information that enables the parental lock capabilities in other domestic reception equipment to operate.
To date, the ACMA has not exercised its powers under Part 9B of the BSA.