Digital Radio Switchover By 2017 In Britain Says DRWG

The Digital Radio Working Group has produced a report that predicts that Britain could make the switch to digital in 2017 assuming that DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) coverage improves nationwide.

The move would come five years after all television in the UK switch to a digital signal. A report published back in June by the same group predicted that the migration would have been completed by 2020.

By 2015, the DRWG reckons that less than 1/2 of radio listening would be done through FM or AM sets as more than a million DAB sets are sold by the forthcoming Christmas.

Barry Cox, the DRWG Chairman, said that "We have always believed in the future of digital radio and now urge the industry, along with Government and Ofcom to address the barriers to successful migration, so people can access even more choice and functionality in the future."

The group also urged the government to come up with "specific criteria" that will "trigger the migration to digital radio" with particular emphasis on DAB users in their cars.

A worrying trend (at least for the DRWG) is the rise of Internet radio that could compete with DAB radio sooner than most expected, delivering a bewildering amount of radio stations.

DAB Radios are still relatively expensive with the cheapest desk bound mode costing around £25 while a Freeview set top box costs as little as £10.

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Our Comments

The switch to DAB will release some well needed spectrum and will finally complete the nation's migration to an all-digital era, five years after TV. Digital radio listening accounts for only a fifth of current radio sets compared to 90 percent of Television. There are around 150 million analogue sets currently in use around the country.

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