Vast

he Viewer Access Satellite Television service, or VAST, is a satellite television platform in Australia, providing digital television and radio services to remote and black spot areas using the Optus C1 and Optus D3 satellites. It is partly funded by the Australian Government and managed through a joint-venture between Southern Cross Media and Imparja Television. It is a replacement for Optus Aurora and provides channels which have been absent on free-to-view satellite until now, such as a Network Ten affiliate, and the digital multichannels. Viewers accessing the service must use a VAST certified satellite television set-top box and smartcard, and go through an application process.

On 10 January 2010, the Australian Government announced a new satellite service to deliver digital television and radio channels to Australian viewers who reside in remote, rural and black spot areas. Initially, the service was only available to viewers in and around Mildura, Victoria, to coincide with Australia’s first analog television switch-off. On 15 December 2010, the service was made available to viewers in the existing Remote Central and Eastern zone. In April 2011, the Western VAST service began for Regional and Remote Western Australia viewers.

Anyone is entitled to view ABC and SBS transmissions on the VAST service, after completing a successful application, regardless of location within Australia.

Several different groups of people are currently entitled to use the VAST service to receive commercial stations:

  • Those who live in areas designated as being part of the Remote Central & Eastern Australia licence area.
  • Those who live outside the Remote Central & Eastern Australia licence area, but live in an area predicted to have no terrestrial digital coverage.
  • Those who live outside the Remote Central & Eastern Australia licence area, but have approval to view the existing Optus Aurora service; due to being in a signal black spot.
  • Those who live outside the Remote Central & Eastern Australia licence area, and do not have Optus Aurora approval, may apply for VAST from 6 months before the switchover in their license area.1
  • Those who are traveling in the Remote Central & Eastern Australia and the Regional and Remote Western Australia licence areas may apply for a temporary travellers approval. (Allowing 6 months access).
  • Those who live in areas of Western Australia where terrestrial coverage is not predicted to be available after the completion of the digital switchover in that state.

VAST provides a minimum of 16 digital television channels and 14 digital radio channels, the same number of channels available in metropolitan terrestrial areas. All ABC and SBS television channels are available in separate state feeds. The commercial channels are provided by Southern Cross MediaImparja TelevisionGolden West Network and WIN Television.

Zones [edit]

There are three zones on the VAST service:

  • West- covering WA
  • North- covering QLD and NT
  • South- covering all remaining states and territories

The zones define which channels are able to be viewed from a viewers location, commercial channels from other zones are unable to be viewed. These zone restrictions are designed to protect the interests of the networks, advertisers and sports rights holders. The zone restrictions do not apply to ABC and SBS channels.

Regional News Channel Table [edit]

LCN Region
(WIN/Nine Darwin)
LCN Region
(Southern Cross)
LCN Region
(Seven)
LCN Region
(NBN)
LCN Region
(Prime7)
401 Cairns, Townsville 410 QLD, NT, NSW, VIC 412 Cairns, Townsville 415 Gold Coast, Lismore 418 Coffs Harbour
402 Mackay, Rockhampton 411 Tasmania, Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill 413 Mackay, Rockhampton 416 Coffs Harbour, Tamworth 419 NSW & VIC
403 Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba 414 Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast 417 Newcastle, Central Coast 420 Orange, Wagga Wagga
404 Orange, Wagga Wagga TBA Tamworth
405 Wollongong, Canberra TBA Albury
406 Albury, Gippsland
407 Bendigo, Shepparton
408 Ballarat, Mildura
409 Tasmania,
Mt Gambier
Nine News
Darwin

Radio Channel Table [edit]

National Broadcasters Other Broadcasters
LCN Channel LCN Channel LCN Channel
200 Dig Music 35 Chill 600 2RPH
201 ABC Jazz 36 Pop Asia
202 News Radio 37 SBS National Radio1
203 ABC Radio National1 38 SBS Radio 11
204 ABC Classic FM1 39 SBS Radio 21
205 Triple J1
206 Triple J Unearthed 3XX SBS State Feeds1
207 ABC Grandstand
208 ABC Country
209 ABC Extra
210-214 ABC Local Radio1 
2XX ABC State Feeds