Monday 23 July 2018

Norwegian MP: DAB Radio in Norway Is a Tragedy

The DAB fiasco will become a major political issue
Experience so far leaves no doubt that the closure of the FM network and the introduction of DAB is a tragedy for the Norwegian people. The Storting parliamentarian and media spokesperson for the Center Party, Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen, writes this in response to Frp (Progress Party) Thorleif Fluer Vikre, in a debate article published in several regional newspapers in Norway. Before joining Stortinget Sem-Jacobsen was employed by the public broadcaster NRK.

Vikre, vice president of Frp Vestfold and Telemark district, regards the closing of FM networks as a big mistake, which is confirmed by the fact that radio listening is down. Frp was the only party against national FM switch-off. Vikre therefore believes it is positive that Sem-Jacobsen and the Center Party now is critical about this digitization.

It is true that a broad majority voted for digitizing the radio medium in connection with the processing of Report. 8 (2010-2011), including the Center Party. Let me remind Vikre and Frp that when the Storting adopted the introduction of DAB technology, it was under certain conditions. One of these was that DAB should have equivalent coverage as the FM network before FM was phased out. Furthermore, it was emphasized that a number of political and social considerations had to be taken care of in connection with the digitization. Freedom of expression, ownership, emergency preparedness, access to information, population coverage, as well as ensuring users access reasonable and good services, she writes in her reply to Vikre.

She believes that the experience so far has shown that the closure of the FM network and the introduction of DAB is a tragedy for the Norwegian people. She points out that the Center Party 2016 made proposals in the Storting to postpone the closure of FM. The proposal was subsequently rejected, also by Frp.

Sem-Jacobsen reacts when Vikre claims that the Center Party has woken up afterwards. He does not mention that the Storting decided to introduce DAB under certain circumstances, and that the Center Party proposed to postpone FM switch-off 2016 due to serious shortcomings with DAB. Experience revealed that coverage was not satisfactory and that listeners did not get any added value. Frp then had a golden opportunity to support our proposal, which they did not.

She hopes that Frp in the government will do something about the DAB scandal, which Vikre writes. And with it, it is possible to have the Minister of Culture investigate the DAB case more thoroughly than its predecessors from the Høyre. This involves, inter alia, providing a proper factual database with real DAB  listening figures. It is untenable that the government does not comply with the assumptions underlying DAB's adoption in 2011, Åslaug Sem-Joaconsen concludes her article.

The Norwegian government today consists of a coalition with three parties; Høyre (Conservatives), Frp and Ventre (Liberals) The latter party holds the Minister of Culture post. The Center party is presently in opposition party in the parliament.

Also read
Deep Decline for Radio Ads in Norway Bad News for DAB Broadcasters
50 Percent of Norwegians Do Not Switch to DAB. Rather Stay on FM
Norwegian Local Radio Will Continue On FM
Deteriorating Emergency Radio in Norway After DAB Transition