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In 2017, Norway will shut down FM radio

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The Norwegian Ministry of Culture announced this week that their government will be shutting down their FM radio band effective January 11, 2017 and will require radio stations to broadcast solely using digital audio broadcasting (DAB) citing high FM operating costs. Norway only has 5 national FM radio stations and already has 22 DAB stations up and running. The FM switch-off was dependent on several criteria including national services could reach 90% of the population and that 50% of the listening population had daily access to the new standard in addition to making DAB receivers affordably available within cars.

DAB takes a different approach to what we may be used to in the Western Hemisphere concerning digital broadcasting. In a DAB system, the audio signal is encoded in order to preserve signal fidelity while allowing for signal multiplexing — having multiple data streams on the same signal — not unlike what is used in digital TV here in the U.S. The signal is then broadcast at a higher wavelength than FM (typically between 174-240 MHz though a wider range is available for use). The types of data transmission used in this standard include audio (radio, sports commentaries, etc.) and video feeds like electronic programming guides, traffic/weather updates that can use a vehicle’s in-dash display for real-time updates.

For more information about Norway’s decision, check out this article from The Verge.

For more information about DAB, check out the benefits list and additional features from WorldDMB, the DAB standards governing body.