Thursday 13 October 2016

Proposal in Parliament Might Stop FM Switch-off in Norway

Widespread political concern over DAB radio shortcomings
The Parliament - Stortinget-  will this fall decide if the FM switch-off for Norwegian national radio should be postponed. Center Party (Sp) member from Nordland, Janne Sjelmo Nordås confirms that the Sp will submit a proposal which will convince Stortinget to conclude that the digitization of radio should be discontinued. Too many complain poor DAB coverage, and therefore we should postpone the FM switch-off, says Sjelmo Nordås.I  receive messages from many indicating that they are not receiving the DAB signal or the quality is really bad, she says to the public radio broadcaster NRK.

Sjelmo Nordås says that radio has a major emergency position, and if many are not receive DAB or have such poor quality that they can not rely on the coverage, it is a serious problem. That people across the country reported "that this must be stopped," means that we must take this seriously. Nordås says Sp will propose to the FM switch-off  should be postponed until documentation that the coverage is as it should be is presented to Stortinget.

Deputy Director Øyvind Vasaasen NRK, which has primary responsibility for digitizing radio says it's reprehensible that Sjelmo Nordås does it this way. She creates uncertainty about a technology shift which is challenging for all who work with it - and also for the listeners,he says to NRK.

Nordland in the far North of Norway is the first region where the FM network will be switched off as planned on January 11, 2017. Then follow different areas throughout Norway during the year. Complaints have been lodged from across the country because of lack of coverage and poor reception.

In the case of local radio outside the largest cities, the FM will remain for at least another five years. This applies to both commercial radio as well as community radio.

A proposal by the Centre Party may have enough support in Stortinget as hesitancy toward FM closure during the year have been expressed from all other parties except Høyre -the Conservatives. The most vocal opposition to an FM-switch-off is raised by the other government party the Progressive Party. Previously, also the Green Party has stated that it is against an FM switch-off.

Prior to February 2016 when Sweden decided to reject the proposal to replace the FM with DAB the Centre Party and the Green Party were the two parties that clearly marked their opposition to such a transition. 

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