Norway will next week become the first nation to start switching off its FM radio network in a risky and unpopular leap to digital technology that will be closely watched by other countries considering whether to follow suit.
Critics say the government is rushing the move and fear many people may miss emergency alxs that until now have been broadcast via FM radio. Of particular concern are the 2m cars on Norway’s roads that are not equipped with digital audio broadcasting (DAB) receivers they say.
Nevertheless parliament has given the final go-ahead for the move swayed by the fact that digital networks can carry more channels.
Switzerland plans a similar move from 2020 and Britain and Denmark are among those also considering such a switch. A smooth transition to DAB which is already beamed across Norway could encourage these countries to move ahead.
GrahamPTebby 14h ago
The main reason the governments want to switch from analogue to digital is not because there will be more channels but because digital uses less bandwidth they can sell off the freed up FM spectrum. There are two aspects to digital quality - true there is no hiss but it needs to compress the audio to achieve the bandwidth savings and with increased compression comes worse quality less bandwidth and lower costs. Also while the quality of analogue falls gracefully as the signal gets worse digital keeps going up to a point and then fails catastrophically.
Bosp GrahamPTebby 14h ago
they can sell off the freed up FM spectrum
to whom and for what?
It's not suitable for phone services - too low frequency.
Mootpoint Jones GrahamPTebby 14h ago
Exactly! Thank you.
RegLaCrisp Bosp 14h ago
You've asked this question many times. As far as I can see nobody has bothered to reply.
I hope you're not holding your breath? Given that almost every comment on here is negative it seems odd to me that nobody is prepared to come forth and argue their case.
That DAB is shite would be a good argument (if it is shite - I neither know nor care as the only time I ever listen to the radio is on the internet) but then one wonders why any government would even consider this change let alone actually go through with it. Norway and Switzerland are not backward countries - they must have good reasons ... mustn't they?
The article says; "For the same cost digital radio allows for eight times as many stations as FM and is said to have clearer sound and less hiss. The current system of parallel FM and digital networks each of which costs about 250m crowns saps investment in programmes." Everybody turning off would sap such investment too!
Norway is dramatically less densely populated than the UK and also suffers far more from extreme weather so the availability in cars must be an issue. Yet still the government is going ahead. They must think the good things outweigh the bad but they should try a little harder to explain their thinking.
mojoangel 15h ago
My radio works fine. I do not want the unnecessary expense of "upgrading". Many people who are poor will be disenfranchised from listening to the radio if it goes purely digital. FM sounds great with a decent tuner.
savingUK mojoangel 14h ago
Except (in the UK at least) they deliberately distort most FM stations using a special technique to make them sound louder. Not the case for classical stations though which may be more common in Norway?
Fanastril savingUK 14h ago
There is only one classical station in Norway P1. The rest are from the 80s.
Bakwaas savingUK 13h ago
I wasn't aware of this. I always learn at least one fact a day from the comments pages
delmercato 15h ago
At least Britain will be reverting back to AM now that we have freed ourselves from all this FM and digital nonsense imposed by the EU loons.
JackTheJuggler delmercato 14h ago
Can I borrow your shoehorn? Oh now I see it's one of those ironic shoehorns!
Kolkhis delmercato 14h ago
It's the long wave goodbye. I'll get my coat.
glueface Kolkhis 14h ago
Your coat is already outside.
Geologybob 14h ago
Even if you can get a decent signal (the higher broadcast frequency of DAB doesnt penetrate walls and buildings as well as the lower FM band)the life of batteries running a DAB can be measured in hours. I replace batteries in some of my FM radios at yearly intervals sometimes. Even using rechargeables this has surely got to be part of the consideration ?
Imagine junking all our existing radios to get onto a permanent upgrade treadmill of the "next format". Insane progress for progress' sake driven exclusively by DAB makers and government wanting to sell frequency blocks.
defconfour 15h ago
Democracy in action once again I see. I sympathise entirely with the majority in Norway who do not want to switch to digital radio.
The switch from analogue to digital TV stations here in the UK was one of the biggest rip-offs ever perpetrated on the unsuspecting public. There'll be hundred of channels we were told. Well yes and 90% of them serve up a woeful choice of programming not to mention the synchronized ad breaks we all have to suffer. The Treasury made a fortune from the VAT levied on all the new/converted equipment we had to invest in in order to view the digital content.
No doubt HMG are expecting the same when we all have to shell out for digital radios which if run on batteries cost a fortune. Then as mentioned in the article above there's the not-so-small matter of having to change all our car radios which all work perfectly well at the moment thank you. Another money spinner for the Treasury.
It only has one advantage and that is that it uses less bandwidth giving the greedy government the opportunity to sell-off the remaining bandwidth to telecoms companies. This decision has NOTHING to do with offering an improved service.