The Plan for DAB+ into Regional Markets

Staff Writer

Malcolm Turnbull, the Minister for Communications has released a report recommending establishing a Digital Radio Planning Committee for regional Australia, chaired by ACMA.

The reports aims to remove government obstacles and secure industry support and planning for the rollout out of digital services to regional markets.

“CRA is pleased to note the signal of support for regional DAB+ rollout in the report, with its recommendation for the establishment of an industry planning group. This means that regional Australians will not suffer a digital divide in relation to free to air broadcast radio but will eventually be on an equal footing with their metropolitan counterparts.”, said Joan Warner CEO of Commercial Radio Australia.

Likewise the CBAA, which represents the community sector has also welcomed the news. CBAA President Adrian Basso said: “Digital radio is the primary free-to-air broadcast technology in Australia’s multi-platform digital media environment. Community radio is an essential part of the mix of digital services”.

Since the launch of DAB+ digital radio in metro markets in late 2009, GfK data has shown that listening has out performed expectations with 3.2 million people or nearly 25% now listening with a DAB+ radio. In addition more than 190k of vehicles have been sold with DAB+ receivers on-board based on car industry research.

“The radio industry has invested in a robust reliable future broadcast technology that is easy for listeners to access, remains free, live and local with additional choice and content.  Broadcast radio plays a vital role in metropolitan and regional areas with the provision of local news and local emergency services information, so it is very important we continue to provide free to air broadcast radio services into the future.”, Joan Warner went on to say.

The report also details that “Digital terrestrial radio will continue as a supplementary, rather than a replacement, technology in at least the short to medium term”. It also states that network and station owners will make the decison as to whether or not they roll out services to their markets. The same will apply to Community operators.

No time line has been set to turn off analogue services.

You can view the Digital Radio Report here

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