Oslo, Jan 7: Norway plans to shut down its FM radio and go in for fully digital signals. According to the latest report, this change is expected to be in place starting next week. With this change, Norway will be the first country to switch off its nationwide FM radio network and convert totally to digital signals.
With this change, Norway will be the first country to switch off its nationwide FM radio network and convert totally to digital signals.
The change was announced in 2015 and will take months to be fully implemented.
The Norwegian government decided to make the transition in part because digital radio can provide many more channels for the same price — eight times as many, to be precise.
Norway currently has room for just five national radio stations on its FM system — three public broadcasting channels, and two commercial channels. Other national radio stations, as well as some regional and local stations, are already using the digital system.
Supporters of the switch also say digital radio will sound clearer than FM, or frequency modulation, and that the signal will be clearer in places where fjords and mountains interfere with FM signals.
The Norwegian government also said that digital radio was less likely to fail in extreme conditions, which lawmakers saw as an advantage for emergency preparedness.
The CEO of Digitalradio Norway says the country’s FM network is antiquated and would need massive investments to maintain — so, to allow investment in digital radio, the FM network needs to be shut down.
But NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports that the public, in general, isn’t happy about the decision to abandon FM entirely.
The major problem in this switchover seems to be old cars that do not have digital broadcasting receivers and Norway has about 20 lakh cars and a population of 50 lakh. A digital adapter for an FM car costs about $170. People have also expressed their concern that they may miss the warnings for emergencies that are broadcast on FM. Hence according to a recent survey, two-thirds of the people are against the switchover.
Reuters reported that the shutdown of FM signals will begin in the northern city of Bodø on Jan. 11, and extend across the country by the end of the year.
Some local stations, however, will continue to transmit over FM signals until 2022, The Local reports.
Norway’s transition to an all-digital radio will be closely watched by other countries considering the same move.
“Among other nations, the U.K. plans to review the need for a switchover once digital listening reaches 50 per cent,” the CBC reports. “That could be reached by the end of 2017 on current trends”, Digital Radio U.K. spokeswoman Yvette Dore said.