The 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 the Optus Aurora service 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 decoder/receiver (set-top box) and smart card, and go through the necessary application process.
More details on the VAST application process: http://www.myvast.com.au
If you plan on traveling through regional or remote Australia, you will need suitable equipment to receive the VAST service. You will need a portable satellite dish kit and a VAST receiver (set-top box) with a smart-card (comes married with the receiver). As a traveller, you are catered for as a special category that can be granted an initial six-month period of VAST access. You can apply for an extension of this period during the four weeks before its expiry. Once you have your equipment, you will need to register your new VAST receiver (set-top box) before you receive all your services.
To fully register you’ll be asked for the VAST receiver (set-top box) model number, the serial number and the smart-card number inside the receiver (set-top box).
Most dishes are still capable of receiving the VAST services, and as long as they are free from dirt and corrosion should still work fine. However, the “LNB” (the receiver in the middle of the dish that the cable is connected to) needs to be updated to the “10.7” or “10700” type. If you are still using the old “11.3” or “11300” type, some services (ABC/SBS so far) will be inaccessible. Fortunately, new LNBs (or LNBFs) are much cheaper and more readily available than they used to be. Please check the markings on your LNB or check with your local satellite antenna installer if you have any doubts, or if you need help updating your LNB.
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 Media, Imparja Television, Golden West Network and WIN Television.
Southern Cross Media and Imparja are broadcasting the full range of digital commercial television channels in standard definition (with programming from the 7, 9 and 10 networks) and the high definition channels One HD, 7mate and GEM. VAST also provides all the standard and high definition channels from ABC and SBS. The local news content from regional broadcasters is also available on a dedicated local news channels exclusive to VAST.
Rural health and Weslink channels are now available on VAST.
More information on available channels: http://www.digitalready.gov.au/what-is-the-switch/digital-tv/viewer-access-satellite-television-vast