Thursday 12 March 2015

Nordic Motorist Organizations: Put a Brake on FM Switch-Offs

DAB Radio may cost Danish and Norwegian car-owners more than 2 billion euro.
The Danish national motorist organization FDM has asked for an inquiry into the cost for of a transition from FM to DAB 2019.  - The Norwegian organization for car-importers BIL has informed to the ministry of culture that their members reject the elements of compulsion and a premature FM switch-off 2017 in "little Norway" in comparison with the rest of the world. - In Sweden two national motor organizations have questioned a premature switch-off 2022. - Finland permanently opted out of DAB already 2007.

In Denmark the problem according to FDM is that state fees on new cars will increase the cost of a car by more than 1000 euro. A post-delivery installment of a DAB radio will cost approx 500 euro. If FM radio is switched-off the present a new DAB radio must be installed in 2,3 cars. This will cost at least 10 billion euro by to FDM estimate.

The original plan to switch-off FM in Denmark 2019 has recently been loudly opposed by the public radio channel 24syv, commercial SBS Discovery and the two organizations for music copyrights. Also public service Danmarks Radio is hesitant. The plan was also put in question by broadcast provider MD at Teracom Denmark. However, he was forced to leave his job a week later.

In Norway the members of the Bilimportørenes Landsforening (BIL) also reject a premature switch-off. Today there are 2 million recently bought cars with only FM radio installed. And some new cars cannot be delivered with in-car DAB, especially busses and trucks. According to BIL Norway being a small country and becoming the first and for a long time the only country in Europe without any FM radio will be problematic. A premature switch-off FM will leave foreign motorists (tourist as well as professional traftic) in Norway without radio and possible traffic and emergency alerts.

In Sweden in December 2014 the two major motor organizations BIL Sweden and Motormännen raised similar objections. Millions of cars with only FM receivers will still be in use in ten years from now.

The problem Finland will have with a FM switch-off in the other Nordic countries is that a Finnish motorists will not be able to tune in any radio on-air channel while driving in neighboring Sweden or Norway. Finland will retain its FM radio and not going DAB at all. However, the proposal to switch-off FM in Sweden 2022 is not likely to get enough political support.

Since 2002 Denmark is on the old DAB-system but a transition to DAB+ will now take place. Norway is on DAB+.  In-car DAB-receivers are installed in 12 % of all motorcars in Denmark and 17 % of all motorcars in Norway. In Sweden it is estimated to be less than 1 %.

Also read