Move from analog to digital radio, making the Scandinavian country the first to shut down all national FM radio broadcasts.
Norway’s government have been planning the FM switch off for several years, but the actual physical switch only began in January of this year.
The move to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) for national stations should provide improved sound quality and also reduce the costs associated with traditional radio broadcasting. Government figures point to the fact that DAB systems are around 94% cheaper to operate overall.
Norway began introducing DAB to its people back in 1995. As of December 2017, all national broadcasters are supposed to have made the switch. There are now 31 national radio stations broadcasting entirely through DAB.are introduced its first digital radio station in 1995, and has 31 national radio stations on the DAB network.
The future is now and it’s all good?
It depends who you talk to… While most people seem to have agreed that going digital is a good idea, the rushed timescale from Norwegian officials has been met with harsh criticism.
Older cars for example will be unable to access DAB radio stations and will be entirely cut off from national radio stations. According to research, only around 40% of vehicles will be able to listen to DAB radio unless they upgrade or replace their current in-vehicle system. As well as this, several, mainly rural, communities are arguing that the DAB Network doesn’t reach their part of the country, and others that there are several technical issues that have failed to be resolved.
The switch to DAB however, only applies only to national radio stations in Norway. Most of Norway’s local media outlets will continue to broadcast using FM for the foreseeable future. Plans are in place however, for them to move to DAB as well in the next few years.
DAB radio has several advantages over traditional analogue broadcasting. The quality of the sound is much better, it allows for more advanced content, and there are a lot more channels available to broadcasters. It also frees up the FM bandwidth for use in other industries and applications.