The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has finalised the access undertakings that set out the terms and conditions that will apply to digital radio broadcasters and service providers.

This concludes 18 months of consultation by the ACCC with industry and other stakeholders, with the next step up to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to declare a final date for services to begin.

Digital radio services have been set to commence in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney no later than 1 July this year.

Legislation introduced by the federal government is allowing the ACMA to allocate eight licences to commercial and community broadcasters to provide digital radio.

According to the legislation, the licensees will be ‘responsible for multiplexing together the separate streams of content from individual broadcasters and transmitting a combined stream to end users in each licence area’.

This includes a ‘regime’ to allow broadcasters to receive access to digital radio transmission services on reasonable terms and conditions, with each licensee being required to provide the ACCC with a copy of the terms and conditions.

Once approved by the ACCC, it is up to ACMA to decide if digital radio services can start in that area.

At this stage eight companies have made applications for digital radio licences through industry body Commercial Radio Australia.