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Posts under tag: DAB

January 13, 2017

Norway is starting to shut down FM radio now

Flag of Norway

The national flag of Norway

As reported by this blog from a couple years ago, the Norwegian government has commenced the shutdown of its nationwide FM radio network in favor of a digital signal. The process began on Wednesday in the town of Bodø, in the Nordland province in north-central Norway. The government decided to move to a digital format called DAB+ and says that due to the operating costs of FM, the switch will save money by nearly eightfold in powering their broadcast operations. Advocates for the switch say that DAB+ will have a clearer sound than FM especially in areas where fjords and mountains interfere with FM signals.

Despite this, a recent poll shows that two-thirds of Norwegians are against ditching FM with the concern that they would miss warnings for emergencies that are typically broadcast on FM. Additionally, opponents of the shut down say the hardware needed to listen to DAB+ through a $170 adapter to listen in a car.

FM signals will be available in parts of Norway through 2022 as local and regional stations start the transition process. NRK, Norway’s largest national radio station, is now on DAB+ in the Nordland province.

For more information, check out NPR’s article or TheLocal.no

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April 20, 2015

In 2017, Norway will shut down FM radio

Flag of Norway

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.