Digital TV in regional WA has certainly been a popular topic over the last 12-18 months. In the absence of anything official, consumers are clutching to whatever information they can find on the WWW, which is rife with comments, blog posts, articles and forum discussions. Regional WA residents, I believe, are genuinely offended at being left last on the digital roll-out list. In my constant digging on the issue, I’ve found some more information about the rollout, and a new channel, TenWest, that I thought was worth communicating, since communication about Digital TV stations has been so hard to find.

If you live in Mawson, Mingenew, Kalgoorlie and Karratha – you’re in luck. You’ve had access to digital versions of GWN, WIN and a new channel called TenWest since June 2010.

What is TenWest ? Well it’s basically a digital version of Channel Ten, broadcast to certain areas in regional WA. Programs such as Modern Family, GLEE, NCIS, Rush, MasterChef and more are all available to lucky viewers (or at least those with a digital enabled TV or set top box).

TenWest, GWN and WIN digital will be available in Bunbury, Bridgetown, Mandurah, Manjimup, Margaret River, Nannup, Pemberton, and Geraldton, as soon as February 2011 according to some sources, and as late as April 2011 according to others. Sadly for us, Busselton isn’t one of these, however I will be keeping a close watch on when this roll-out occurs.

I’m also told that Seven’s digital channels ( 7TWO and 7Mate) are due to be rolled out to certain regional WA areas in the second half of 2011.

Interestingly, it seems WA has been left till last is because of 2 reasons. Firstly, an article I found mentioned that under media law, Western Australia is actually considered a ‘remote’ area instead of a ‘regional’ area and therefore has not come under the same regional guidelines as other states. However I’m unsure of the truth of this statement and can’t find any solid evidence. And secondly, WA has had the slowest uptake of digital enabled TV’s in Australia. A recent Nielson report showed that in July 2010, just 52.8% of homes in regional WA had digital TVs, compared with all other states (bar NT and ACT which weren’t on the report) who all had rates of over 70%. So, fellow WA-ites, it seems we only have ourselves to blame!

Ironically, I write this blog as Ten launches another digital channel, Eleven, for lucky metropolitan viewers (as of 11am today).

It’s important to us to stay ahead of the game with digital TV, for our clients (the advertisers) as well as anyone living in regional WA, so I’d really be interested in your thoughts and comments on this issue, as well as any additional information anyone can provide.