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AUSSATAustralian Communication Satellite
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Using a satellite-receiving dish to download the broadcast signal from AUSSAT, the BRACS transmitter emits a low-power television and radio signal that blankets a five sq km area, the equivalent of a local settlement.
Australia's first television satellite, AUSSAT, originated from commercial interests, combined with an 'egalitarian sentiment' (McDonnel, 1990: 88; Staley, 1985) to provide rural and remote viewers with the same number of commercial channels received in metropolitan areas.
Whether out of nervousness or necessity, AUSSAT policy was firmly fixed on commercial services (see Gosewinckel, 1990).
AUSSAT provided the technical means for radio channels to be piggybacked on the B-Mac TV service, yet there was no avenue for submitting such a bid to the tribunal.
AUSSAT was sold to Optus in the 1990s, having failed financially.
In her history of Imparja television, Wendy Bell briefly raises the issue of access as it arose during the AUSSAT years:
Tom O'Regan (1990) has described the introduction of AUSSAT as an instance of 'high communications policy', in that it removed social and regional obstacles to television transmission in favour of the most competitive and cheapest option.
Commentators have mostly treated the story of AUSSAT as a case study of private interests influencing communications policy.
1990, 'AUSSAT in Perspective', Media Information Australia, no.