NEWS published on 29 Jun 2015

Digital Radio: EBU joins Swedish Radio in condemning government U-turn on DAB+

News that the Swedish government is to postpone the development of a digital terrestrial network has been widely criticised as 'short-sighted and retrograde' by public service broadcasters across Europe.  

Swedish Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke announced this month that the government had decided not to switch over to DAB+ because the change represented ‘too much uncertainty’ for the ten million radio receivers currently in use.  

Director General of Swedish Radio (SR) and EBU Member Cilla Benkö says the decision is bad news for Swedish radio audiences.

“A digital terrestrial network is both cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly,” she said. “This announcement means we are holding on to old technology, which in turn means there is the risk that in the long term Sweden, which is currently regarded as one of the leading countries in Europe when it comes to radio broadcasting, will lose that position as the audience opt out of an analogue alternative in an otherwise digital world.”

Ms Benkö said that in countries such as Norway and Denmark, where the digital terrestrial network is used with full force in a competitive market, radio audiences were increasing both in terms of user numbers and listening time.

EBU Director of Media Jean Philip De Tender said the decision was shortsighted.

"Digital terrestrial radio is the future of our medium,” he said. “By extending the coverage of DAB+, we are meeting the needs of our listeners with all the additional benefits of digital terrestrial radio. The advantages of DAB+ over analogue listening include clearer sound, more choice of stations and additional services like text, pictures, internet links and geo-referenced data.”

There are there are more than 400 DAB+ services currently available to an estimated 160 million European listeners in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Vatican.

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