The Role of The ACMA In Fixing TV Reception
5 January 2021
What or Who is the ACMA?
The ACMA stands for the Australian Communications and Media Authority. They are an Australian Government organisation that plays a very important role in all types of wireless RF communication and transmission in Australia. It was formed on 1 July 2005 when the Australian Broadcasting Authority merged with the Australian Communications Authority.
According to Wikipedia, the ACMA is responsible for simply “ensuring media and communications works for all Australians“. And according to the ACMA’s own website, the ACMA “regulate[s] communications and media to maximise the economic and social benefits for Australia.”
The ACMA And Free To Air Television
One specific part of the regulations that the ACMA provides is the management of airwaves, including for all sorts of uses. This includes mobile telephone signals (3G/4G and now 5G), radio transmissions, satellite signals, and you guessed it, Free To Air television signals.
Whilst it might not sound too difficult… OK let’s be honest, it sounds difficult too. Management of an invisible spectrum of airwaves is an incredibly difficult task, including managing all the associated devices and licenses. So the ACMA is a very busy organisation.
When To Call on the ACMA for Television Issues
The ACMA has created the ability for all Australians to be able to receive Free To Air television. No matter where you live, you should be able to have access to FTA TV via either terrestrial transmission or satellite transmission (VAST). If there is a problem receiving TV reception at your site, this is more than likely due to a fault in your TV antenna’s receiving equipment (for example, the antenna, antenna cabling or other equipment). However, there is sometimes a separate issue we call “external interference”.
External interference is the presence of other wireless signals interfering with your TV reception. These other wireless signals are likely not allowed to be used (there is a dedicated band of spectrum for FTA TV only in your area). They can be caused from a long list of possible devices, some of which are faulty devices and others which are illegal devices. Examples include:
- Swimming pool pumps
- Washing machines
- Hot water systems
- LED lights
- Electric fences
- Mobile Signal Boosters (non-approved versions)
On the rare occasion, interference can also be caused by power lines, street lights and amateur and CB radio equipment.
As per the ACMA’s website, before calling the ACMA to check for external interference, it is important that you have an antenna installer attend to your TV antenna system to ensure that the TV antenna system equipment is digital compliant and installed correctly. If appropriate, in the case that the problem is in fact suspected “external interference”, then we can assist by completing a Digital TV interference form to note down the correct technical information. Upon review of the form, ACMA will likely then attend the site to conduct further investigations to identify the source of the “external interference”.
External Interference is quite rare and in some circumstances can be quite frustrating for end users (especially if it is caused by a neighboring property or something outside their control). Install My Antenna has had 40+ years of investigating TV antenna systems and has come across external interference on many occasions in the past. We hold a strong reputation with the ACMA and can assist where required.