Neelie Kroes is the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Photo licenced under a Creative Commons licence.
Neelie Kroes, the EUs Commissioner for Digital Agenda, spoke at the Association of European Radio’s (AER) 20th Anniversary Conference today.
She demonstrates a competent and future proof understanding that radio needs clear conditions for it to continue to blossom in the long term, in a digital manner. She pinpoints that there is no single way forward, radio needs to be delivered via multiple platforms, where listeners want and expect it.
She calls for the usage of open standards, and mention DMB, DAB and DAB+ specifically. This will help the market to grow, and will benefit broadcasters, manufacturers of receivers, telecom operators and not least the users.
The decision of Germany to launch a nationwide radio network via DAB+ in August 2011 and Norways decision to shut off FM in January 2017 may have contributed to her strong belief in the need for digitalization of radio, but through her speech she clearly helps radio, the best media for delivery of pictures, develop even further in the future.
The highlights of her speech follows below, although I would recommend you to read all of it here.
While awareness of digital radio is low, the population is already well aware of the benefits of digital audio and they have had it in compact discs and iPods for years. We cannot forget the European aspects of this issue. My job is to help content providers scale up their offer at least to the Single Market size – and that cannot be done with FM analogue radio alone.
I think that there is great potential for digital radio, as the UK and Danish experiences demonstrate. From the Commission’s discussions with Member States, we have not yet reached clear-cut conclusions at European level on a number of fundamental questions: how can radio best participate in convergence? What incentives would encourage user and manufacturers to shift to the digital format? I need your support to develop the right answers to those questions. They will probably cover not only technical issues (e.g. spectrum efficiency of second generation standards and interoperability), but also political and economic issues. The ecosystem of radio must change, to the benefit of the many of us who enjoy its programmes on a daily basis.
We must all think creatively. Let me give you just one example. In the absence of standards agreed by the market, in the absence of digital radio in 16 Member States, I welcome the efforts of the WorldDMB industry group. They have developed receiver specifications which integrate DAB, DAB-plus, and DMB standards in one receiver. This is possible because these are open standards!
In conclusion, let me say that I am optimistic that the radio Single Market has a digital future.
I am determined that you should have access to the full benefits of the Single Market. To get there, we will need EU-wide coordination. Rest assured I am your ally in your efforts to give people the radio they want, how they want it.