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Norway will get rid of FM radio by 2017, switch to DAB

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Norway will get rid of FM radio by 2017 and ransition to digital broadcasting.


Norway is preparing to be the first country to eliminate FM radio and completely transition to digital broadcasting.

The transition will occur by 2017, according to the country’s government.

Thorhild Widvery, minister of culture, said the change is due to the Digital Audio Broadcasting system having more benefits than FM radio, including more channels and better quality.

“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality. Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development,” Thorhild said in a press statement. “Whereas the FM system only had space for five national channels, DAB already offers 22, and there is capacity for almost 20 more.”

Radio digitization would also cost less. Transmitting national radio channels through the FM network currently costs eight times higher than transmitting through a digital network.

Norway has been planning the move of networks for years now, but the government finally decided on 2017 to give people time to adapt to the new technology and install it in their cars and homes.

However, the Norwegian Local Radio Association (NLF) believes the government’s reports are premature. In a statement released to the media, NLF said that only 23 local radio stations, along with with major national broadcasters will be making the transition to DAB. NLF also said that the percent of listeners required to make the transition falls below the parliment’s treshold. Currently only 19% of listening is on DAB boradcasts, and the prerequisite to kill FM requires 50%.

Norway’s set of criteria prior to making the FM switch-off official consists of having at least half of all listeners tuning in to digital radio stations daily, affordable solutions to add radio reception to cars and that digital radio must represent added value for listeners.

The analog switch-off still needs approval from parliament.

Several other countries in Europe and Asia have also expressed interest in switching to digital broadcasting, according to Radio.no.


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