The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued a draft decision not to accept access undertakings submitted by eight digital radio multiplex transmission licensees.

"However, the ACCC believes that the undertakings would not require major changes to become acceptable," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said. "Accordingly, today's decision flags that the ACCC, in its final decision, will give the licensees a notice stating that the ACCC would accept the undertakings if specified changes were made."

Under section 118NF of the Radiocommunications Act, the ACCC can accept modified undertakings in this manner, rather than require the licensees to re-submit new undertakings and begin a new consultation process.

"Digital radio services are to begin in some capital cities in the first half of 2009," Mr Samuel said. "The legislation allows the allocation of digital radio multiplex licences to joint venture companies representing commercial and community broadcasters. The companies will multiplex together the separate streams of content from individual broadcasters and transmit a combined stream to end users in each licence area.

"It is only after an undertaking has been accepted by the ACCC that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) can determine that digital radio services may begin in that area.

"The eight identical undertakings propose the terms and conditions on which the multiplex licensees will provide access to the digital radio multiplex transmission service to broadcasters.  In its draft decision, the ACCC has decided not to accept the undertakings based on an assessment against the decision-making criteria."
Following a period of public consultation, the ACCC will make its final decision on whether to accept the undertakings. The ACCC is inviting interested parties to respond to its draft decision, which will be available from the ACCC website. Submissions should be provided by Friday 23 January 2009.

For media inquiries to the ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, Mr Ed Willett, Commissioner or Mr Michael Cosgrave, Group General Manager, Communications Group please call Ms Lin Enright, ACCC Media, on (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520. 

For general inquiries, please call the Infocentre: 1300 302 502.

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