SWEDEN: transmission company proposes DAB radio re-launch in 2010/11

DAB radio in Sweden could be re-launched to the public in 2010 or 2011, argues radio transmission company Teracom, interviewed in Radio World. Although Swedish state radio has been broadcasting on the DAB platform since 1995, the signal still only reaches 35% of the population. No DAB licences for commercial radio have yet been issued. In 2005, the Swedish government halted any further public investment in DAB radio due to poor consumer response.

Despite these setbacks, Teracom is attempting to stimulate Swedish interest in an upgraded DAB+ transmission system. It started DAB+ trial broadcasts in May 2009 and is conducting market research with the 500 people to whom it has supplied DAB+ receivers. The trial stations on DAB+ comprise four from state radio, eight from commercial radio and three community broadcasters.

Teracom pilot project manager Per Werner said one of the aims of the pilot is “to demonstrate to decision makers that the Swedish radio industry is ready for digital radio and that there is demand for new regulations allowing the industry to enter the digital era.” He explained: “If a decision is made to build a DAB+ network on a larger scale, a natural consequence would be to migrate the current DAB network to a DAB+ network. This is a decision for Sveriges [state] Radio, which is currently using the DAB network in a limited coverage area.”

Werner advised: “There is consensus in the industry that a wide range of programmes from public service and commercial radio, as well as community radio, will be necessary to provide a compelling offer to listeners.”