Saturday 11 March 2017

80 New FM Frequencies for Commercial Radio in Sweden

DAB lobby arguments about the lack of broadcasting space now forgotten
The telecom agency PTS has now informed about industry efforts to develop new FM frequencies for commercial radio. The priority for the agency was to open frequencies for at least three national networks. This project has now succeed and PTS will now continue to develop regional and local frequency spectra for FM radio. The idea of a transition from FM to DAB in Sweden seems to be a dead issue by now.

The Agency has reviewed and modified the 100 existing frequency resources. Output power have been increased and restrictions on the direction of transmission has been removed where possible.

In addition, PTS has developed 80 new frequencies across the country with varying effects and antenna heights. PTS has tried to do the national networks as equal as possible in terms of coverage. The goal is an outdoor coverage of 80-85 percent of the population. Until now, PTS has been able to reach up to 75-80 percent for the three networks.

Work on the new frequency plan to be presented to the government by June 30. The next licensing period, valid for 8 years starts August 1, 2018. The permits go to the highest bidders for the entire license period and the fee must be paid in full before August 2018.

The agency for press, radio and television MPRT will develop a strategy for licensing. Among other things, it must be clarified how the transmission areas should be designed to foster competition and diversity, even over time. It is also unclear whether those who receive the national licenses must cover the whole of their broadcast areas. Another issue is the potential for a regional breakdown of the consignments for regional programs and particularly regional advertising.

A major argument for the DAB lobby argument to replace FM radio with DAB + was that FM network will not have spectrum enough for all. "The short answer to the question why do we digitize terrestrial network is that the FM network is basically full. It has been quite some time ..." (quotation from From analogue to digital terrestrial radio - a plan from the Digital Radio Coordination SOU 2014: 77). Three years later, this argument has proven completely incorrect.

Alongside these new frequencies there is vacant spectrum on the FM band for community radio in at least half of the country's 280 municipalities. - Most radio stations in Sweden is also broadcast on-line.

Read more
Continuous information from PTS regarding redistribution of commercial analogue radio frequencies (in Swedish)

Also read
Is European FM on the Way Out? (Analysis by James Careless in Radio World)

Norway Is Not a Trendsetter for FM Radio
Another 77 Frequencies For Local FM Radio in Denmark
Renewal of National Analogue Radio Licenses Signals FM Survival in the UK.