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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

Sweden Joins FM Switch-Off Club

Creative Commons licensed photo by Hans Kylberg.

Swedish Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, today announced that Sweden have joined Norway and Denmark in setting a date for switching off FM and replacing it with DAB+. She explains the reasons behind the government’s move in a letter to Swedish daily Dagens nyheter.

She says that a market based network for digital radio is to be finalized in no more than nine years and confirms that the government today will decide the terms for public service radio and television the next six years.

– Radio is a strong media with a lot of listeners. The absolute majority listens through the FM network which was established many years ago. The old technology, which certainly works, is however an obstacle for the development of the radio industry. A digitalized market will enable more radio stations to more listeners in a more inexpensive manner, in the long term, Adelsohn Liljeroth says.

She furthermore states that competitive terms are improved when the private broadcasters can broadcast to the entire country.

– The transition from analogue to digital radio should be market driven, the government will support this by creating favorable conditions. The government will therefore employ a industry coordinator who will work to make sure that the transition to digital radio will be finalized in 2022, the Minister writes.

The license fee is not to be affected in any major way by the change of technology and double distribution costs will be financed through governmental loans, as was the case when Sweden changed from analogue to digital television.

As recommended by the EBU

This is very good news and it aligns very well with what the EBU has clearly signalled earlier in 2013, that DAB+ is the technology of choice for radio in Europe. The question now is, who will follow suit, when.

There will be an announcement in the UK by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, in October. Other countries that are well positioned to announce an FM switch-off include Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. Watch this space.

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