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The category of open narrowcasting radio services was established under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cwlth). Open narrowcasting services are broadcasting services whose reception is limited in at least one of a number of ways specified under the Act:
Low power open narrowcasting radio services provide niche radio broadcasting services to a limited area of reception. Examples include ethnic broadcasting, information services, niche musical services, religious programming and racing and tourist information services (e.g. Launceston 'Tourist Info' on 99.3 MHz.). A service uses spectrum that is not being used by other national, commercial or community broadcasters in a licence area. The intended coverage area is also limited: in a residential area to within a 2 km radius of the transmitter site; in a non-residential area to within a 10 km radius of the transmitter site.
Compared to other broadcasting services, open narrowcasters are subject to minimal regulation under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. This reflects their ability to be less influential on community views compared to mainstream broadcasting services. Open narrowcasters are not subject to any domestic or foreign ownership and control provisions or Australian content levels. However, they are subject to general licence conditions that apply to all broadcasters and narrowcasters (e.g. prohibition of tobacco advertising, compliance with programming standards, not to use the service to commit an offence).