Wednesday 1 July 2015

EBU Condemns Swedish Government Decision to Stop DAB Radio

Decision to retain FM radio plagues DAB developments. 
The decision to retain FM radio in Sweden has created an uproar amongst DAB proponents and lobbyists in Europe. In Sweden the unusual approach by the Director General of Swedish public radio (SR) and EBU Member Cilla Benkö by protesting against the government has been duly noted in media. Now also the EBU has joined her in condemning the decision. News that the Swedish government is to postpone the development of a digital terrestrial network has been widely criticised as 'short-sighted and retrograde' by public service broadcasters across Europe writes EBU on its web site.  

Swedish Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke announced this month that the government had decided not to switch over to DAB+ mainly because the change represented ‘too much uncertainty’ for the ten million FM radio receivers currently in use.  

Cilla Benkö says the decision is bad news for Swedish radio audiences. She said that we are holding on to old technology, which in turn means there is the risk that in the long term Sweden, as a leading broadcasting country will lose that position as the audience opt out of an analogue alternative in an otherwise digital world.

EBU Director of Media Jean Philip De Tender said the decision was shortsighted. Digital terrestrial radio is the future of our medium, he said. The advantages of DAB+ over analogue listening include clearer sound, more choice of stations and additional services like text, pictures, internet links and geo-referenced data.

EBU - the European Broadcasting Union - is the  interest organization for European public service companies.  Connected to the EBU is the DAB lobbying organization WorldDMB.

Behind the Swedish decision are several negative factors which was revealed at the consultation of the 2014 DAB proposal together with a much negative review by the National Audit in April 2015. With its decision to retain FM Sweden joins Finland another leading ICT nation with a strong position of broadband development especially on mobile platforms (LTE 4G).

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