A-Span has now become A-Pac- Australia's Public Affairs Channel- and is up and running from today at Channel 607 on Foxtel and Austar, or your digital set (in Sydney at least), and (soon) on-line here.
But wait.. there's more. In Crikey today Margaret Simons writes that the A-Pac launch seeks to steal a march on the ABC:
"The ABC and pay television are going head to head in a battle for access to that most valuable of natural resources, the broadcasting spectrum. It’s a stoush that goes to the heart of the ABC’s claim to a unique position in the Australian media, and its claim on the taxpayer’s purse. Today pay television providers Foxtel and Austar launch A-pac, a new public affairs channel. They claim they want to provide it free to air to all digital television viewers -- not only their subscribers. The ABC also has plans for a digital public affairs channel. But the truth is that neither Foxtel nor the ABC presently have the spectrum to do what they say they will do. Both are lobbying Communications Minister Stephen Conroy for access to existing free spectrum, plus the rights to use that which will become available when the analogue television signal is switched off. The Government is giving no clues about which of them it will favour. The ABC has every reason to be worried."