DAB Strengthens in Asia, Switzerland to shutdown FM in 2021 instead of 2024



Digital Audio Broadcasting continues to grow and strengthen in Asia

In Brunei particularly, after years of trial now has 5 DAB stations under their government-led Radio Television Brunei.

In China, after the success of DAB as the broadcast technology used in the coverage of the Olympics ten years ago now have major digital stations originating from Shanghai and Beijing.

The headliner of course is Indonesia, as being the biggest country in terms of population in South East Asia with over 240 million, the country plans to completely change to DAB plus this year on July 15.

Malaysia is also now conducting widespread study of the potential of DAB.

The exceptions however are Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. In HK, 3 commercial stations and 1 government station used to be on DAB but stopped the operations in 2017. The reasons were poor listenership and revenue for the commercial operators.

Singapore has favored online streaming over DAB and the Philippines adapted HD Radio instead of DAB. Among stations broadcasting in HD are iFM by RMN, Barangay Stations by GMA and MOR.

Major Switch in Swiss Radio by 2021

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, Radio version 4.0 will take effect in 2021 leading to the shutdown of traditional FM towers, 3 years earlier than the original plan of 2024.

This was announced by Ufcom (Ufficio Federale Delle Comunicazioni) in a report of the Digital Migration Working Group (Gruppo di lavoro Migrazione Digitale), dated 5 June 2018.

At present, the transition from analog to digital diffusion will take place in two phases: one is switch-over, the other is switch-off.

The first is that by the end of 2019 all FM programs will have to be disseminated in digital mode on a DAB + platform.

The second is “the exit from the FM in 2021 to be completed in 2022”.

The process is delegated to the Digital Migration Working Group (GL DigiMig), formed in 2013 with the aim of developing a common strategy aimed at the radio sector for the coordinated transition of analogue to digital radio programs and bringing together representatives of the SSR, the Swiss Association of Private Radios (ASRP), the Union Romande des Radios Régionales (RRR), the Union of non-commercial radio stations (UNIKOM) and the Federal Office of Communications (UFCOM).

At the end of 2017, 39% of the radio programs in Switzerland will still broadcast via FM.

Now digital radio reception is available via DAB +, cable networks and IP TV  (the process of radio and television hybridization is obviously under way there) and, of course, IP. 85% of new cars sold in Switzerland are equipped with DAB +. Most countries in Europe are already preparing for digital.

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