Digital radio access regulation

  • Digital radio uses digital signals to broadcast radio content.
  • Digital radio is broadcast from a transmission site and doesn’t need an internet connection like internet radio.

What the ACCC does

  • We regulate access to digital radio transmitter facilities.
  • We decide whether to approve access undertakings by digital radio infrastructure providers.
  • We monitor compliance with access undertakings.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t have a role in regulating radio broadcast content.

About digital radio services

Digital radio uses digital signals to broadcast radio content. This is different to AM and FM radio, which uses analog signals.

Digital radio is also different to internet radio as it's broadcast from a transmission site and doesn’t need an internet connection.

Digital radio services began in:

  • Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in 2009
  • Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Mandurah in 2019
  • Gold Coast in 2022.

What we do in regulating digital radio access

We share responsibility with ACMA

The ACCC shares responsibility for regulating digital radio services with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

We regulate access to digital radio infrastructure services

The ACCC regulates access to digital radio transmitter facilities to ensure:

  • individual broadcasters can access digital radio services to transmit their content
  • the terms and conditions of access are reasonable
  • consumers can benefit from competition in the market.

Our role in access undertakings

We have a role in regulating access by deciding whether to accept access undertakings from providers of the digital radio infrastructure services.

Access undertakings allow providers to give other parties access to their infrastructure services. They include the terms and conditions of access and price for the services.

We have accepted access undertakings from:

  • 8 category 1 digital radio multiplex transmitter licensees for metro areas in April 2009
  • 3 licensees in March 2019
  • 1 licensee in November 2019
  • 1 licensee in March 2022.

We also monitor compliance with these access undertakings and review requests to vary undertakings.

The steps for authorising digital radio transmission

  1. ACMA issues a provider with a digital radio multiplex transmitter (DRMT) licence.
  2. The digital radio joint venture company (JVC) must then provide the ACCC with an access undertaking, within 50 days after the licence is issued.
  3. If the ACCC accepts the access undertaking, ACMA then declares a start-up date for the digital radio service.

See Digital radio planning on the ACMA website for more information on the key steps for digital radio transmission.

The legal basis of our functions

The ACCC’s functions are set out in section 118 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.

We administer the access regime for digital radio access services under this Act. This allows broadcasters to receive access to digital radio multiplex transmission services on reasonable terms and conditions and ensures licensees don't discriminate anti-competitively between broadcasters.

Access undertakings are assessed against the Digital Radio Multiplex Transmitter Licences (Decision-Making Criteria) Determination 2018.

Digital radio service projects

See a complete list of telecommunications and internet projects.

Title Industry Type Status
Digital radio services Communications Access undertaking Ongoing

The ACCC administers the access regime for the digital radio access service under section 118 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Radiocommunications Act).

Tags

Audience