In what could be seen as a part of complete digital switchover of media services, the UK government in its Digital Britain report has put forth plans to cease analogue radio signals for broadcasting programs on national radio stations as well as local services by the end of 2015.
The Digital Britain report announced an ambitious “Digital Radio Upgrade” that would include services on national and local digital audio broadcasting (DAB) multiplexes cease broadcasting programs using analogue signals.
FM spectrum vacated by the switchover will be filled by a new tier of 'ultra local' radio services comprising small commercial and community stations; in addition to this, radio services presently broadcasting on medium wave will also upgrade to DAB, the report added.
The report further notified that the complete switchover will be announced two years in advance, and not until digital listening reaches to 50 percent of total radio listening, the figure Lord Carter believes to be reached by as soon as 2013.
Furthermore, the government also necessitated that DAB must be comparable to existing FM coverage, and the DAB should reach 90 percent of the total population and all prominent roads before the aforesaid upgrade can kick off.
As the in-car absence of digital radio service is hindering the take up of the new technology, the report recommended that car radios to be sold by the end of 2013 must be digital.
As it stands, DAB radios suffer a number of issues including weak reception issues, horrendous battery life and expensive price - compared to FM radios. The cheapest DAB radio we could get our hands on costs £24.99 at Argos while you can grab a cheapo FM radio fro less than a tenner at most supermarkets. DAB has a long way to go before it can realistically take over FM.