TV switch leaves many in the dark

IT promised to bring better television reception to lounge rooms, but the much-anticipated switch to digital TV has left many homes throughout Flynn without their nightly viewings.

The highest number of calls from Flynn was from Bajool, Stanwell and north Bundaberg, and Central Highlands residents bombarded the Emerald office on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Federal Member Ken O'Dowd this week branded the switch a failure, and said his office had been inundated with calls from residents throughout the region who have been left without television.

"The switch to digital TV has wreaked havoc in the electorate of Flynn and has left many elderly citizens lonely, in the dark and very upset," he said.

"I am certain that there are many others out there suffering in silence that we have not heard from."

Mr O'Dowd levelled the criticism at the Federal Government and said it was "another example" of the lack of understanding of rural and regional issues in Australia.

He said enough time was not given to installers to reach homes throughout regional Australia.

"I am not critical of these authorised agents - they have been performing well under very difficult and unnecessarily tight timelines imposed by Senator Conroy just for the purpose of a photo opportunity," Mr O'Dowd said.

"This is not a case of people leaving it until the last minute to make sure they were prepared for the switch, as some of the people who contacted the office yesterday have made application for the upgrade as early as July this year."

He said the purpose of the digital switch was to deliver regional households the same access to free-to-air television already available in metropolitan centres throughout the nation, and called on Senator Conroy to apologise for the switch's failure.

"What we have found is the switch over has resulted, in some cases, a return to the early sixties when there was no television at all," Mr O'Dowd said.

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