Will UK’s Digital Radio Plans Benefit Listeners?

A recent article entitled: “Vaizey: ‘Government working towards a digital radio future’” attracted our attention. “Vaizey” of course refers to Ed Vaizey, the UK’s current minister for “culture, communications and creative industries” who stated that: “Thanks to the commitment of the Government, the BBC and commercial radio, another 4.3 million households will be able to tune in to DAB by end of 2016…”

Maybe that many listeners will be “able” to receive DAB by end 2016, but have they asked the listeners if they really want DAB? We suspect most are quite happy with FM and possibly even AM radio.

Well there you are, the bandwagon is rolling and the government will keep pushing it now. With the new national multiplexer now being advertised by OFCOM, it will eventually be built out and operating alongside the existing DAB multiplexers. Much of the new multiplexer will be DAB+.

Will there be protests from people who still have sets capable of only getting old DAB? Or will the timescale of the new multiplexer be 2017+ so that the Government can argue that people will by then have replaced their existing DAB receivers?

By end 2016 FM may be a distant memory or perhaps will only be used by very small outfits like community radio. Or will community radio ever be able to start using DRM if new receivers appear using combination chipset circuitry?

Note that India is adopting DRM heavily and is pressing its set makers to grab the export opportunity with DRM compatible sets around the world. Will the Far East industries also grab the opportunity?