Sunday 5 April 2015

DAB Radio Proposal Near Death in Swedish Consultation Round.

Plan for a transition from FM to DAB+ rejected by expertise and major authorities.
The proposal for a transition from FM to DAB+ 2016-2022 has been rejected by central public institutions and many experts in Sweden. Only some minor authorities are behind the proposal together with established DAB proponents. This confirms the unison negative opinion in media when the proposal was presented to the Government in December 2014. The negative and positive respondents are listed below.

After receiving an inquiry report by the National Audit Office on April 14 the Ministry of Culture will consider the next step; a proposal to the Parliament for a transition to DAB, to continue with more inquiries or to scrap the idea of replacing FM, which then will put an end to 20 years of efforts to introduce DAB radio in Sweden. 

A common objection in the consultation is the proposal to close the FM radio which will be at a too high cost for society and consumers (more than one billion euro). The lack of any consumer demand for a replacement of FM is also targeted and that emergency system considerations have been ignored. Infrastructural repercussions are brought to notice as a demand for 100 % geographical coverage including uninhabited areas, maritime traffic and reach in tunnels.  Visiting motor vehicle traffic from non DAB-countries (as neighboring Finland) has also been ignored in the proposal.

Several points to the fact that listening to radio on mobile and smart-phones on FM and on-line is widespread and will increase. The claim that future mobile broadband networks will not be able to carry radio have been widely rejected. If digitalization of terrestrial radio is to be considered other modern systems than DAB+ are proposed by the expertise as DVB-T2 (television network) and DRM+ in the FM band. 

Most outright support for the proposal is presented by the group behind several years of lobbying for DAB; the broadcast provider Teracom AB, public broadcaster Sveriges Radio, commercial MTG and SBS Discovery. Also supported by some other DAB business interests. The minor authorities and organizations supporting the proposal are not known to have expertise regarding the technological or economical aspects of media and communication as in the DAB negative group.

Here is a listing of consultation letters to the Ministry of Culture
(Bold = government authority or public university)

Negative overall response or reservation on decisive issues:

KTH Royal Institute Of Technology
University of Gothenburg: Department of Journalism, Media and Communication
Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts (SADA)
Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) 
Swedish Armed Forces
Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV 
Swedish Better Regulation Council
Swedish Transport Administration
Swedish Transport Agency
Competition Authority 

Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)
Ericsson AB
Digital Radio Sweden
Internet Infrastructure Foundation  .se
Swedish Network Users Society 
Public Service Council
Society of Sound Engineering
Community Radio Association
Network Community Radio in Sweden
Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions: Green party Board reservation

Sveriges Television (rejecting the proposed plan)
BIL Sweden (motorcar organisation) (rejecting the proposed plan)

Positive response:

The Radio and TV Authority
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
Swedish Agency for Accessible Media
Swedish Agency for Participation
Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society
Three County Administrative Boards

Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions: Majority board decision.
SPF Seniorerna (senior citizen organisation)
Swedish Association of Communication Agencies
The Swedish Union of Journalists
Swedish Newspaper Publishers Organisation 
Ifpi Sverige (music rights)
SAMI (music artists rights)
Swedish Village Action Movement
Radioproduktionsbolagen, RPB

The DAB interest group: 
Teracom AB
Sveriges Radio AB
SBS Discovery Radio, NRJ (RBS Broadcasting) (co-op SBS Discovery)
Factum Electronics, Paneda AB, ElektronikBranschen and Mediamobile Nordic Ltd

Notable abstainees from the consultation round are the Swedish Consumer Agency KO, Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO, Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations SACO, Administrative Foundation of Public Service (formal owner of public service companies) and the Radio Academy.

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