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Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 1:23 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 11:27 AM (IST)

Norway first to shut down FM network today for digital radio

Norway first to shut down FM network today for digital radio

Oslo, January 10

Norway tomorrow will become the first country in the world to start shutting down its FM radio network in favour of digital radio, a bold move watched closely by other countries around Europe.

Supporters of Digital Audio Broadcasting say it offers better sound quality and more channels at an eighth of the cost of FM (frequency modulation) transmission, first launched in the US in 1945.

The authorities also say DAB offers better coverage, allows listeners to catch up on programmes they have missed and makes it easier to broadcast emergency messages in times of crisis.

Norway, generally a technology-friendly country, has been preparing for the switchover for years — DAB and FM have existed since 1995.

There are currently 22 national digital stations, along with around 20 smaller ones. The FM spectrum has room for a maximum of only five national stations.

The switch-off begins tomorrow before expanding to the rest of the country by the end of the year, making millions of old radios obsolete.  

While around three-quarters of the population has at least one DAB radio set, many motorists are unhappy, as only about a third of cars on the road are equipped. Converting a car radio involves buying an adaptor for 110 to 220 euros, or getting a whole new radio.  — AFP

WHY OUT OF FAVOUR

Part of the reason Norway is the first to switch away from analogue transmission is to do with topography — it is expensive to get FM signals to a small population scattered around a landscape riven with fjords and high mountains. 

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