CRA has welcomed the decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to extend the DAB+ digital radio trial licences in Canberra and Darwin until 30 June 2015.
The scientific licences have been extended to provide an opportunity for broadcasters to experiment with new features and functionality on DAB+, as well as continue testing a range of planning techniques and equipment types.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said: “Both trials have provided valuable insights into coverage planning that will help ensure regional rollout of DAB+ provides cost effective reception. In addition, CRA has been testing transmission of emergency information across DAB+, fully utilising the slide show and scrolling text features of DAB+.”
Commercial Radio Australia is the trial licensee (on behalf of the ABC, SBS in Canberra) and the Canberra trial funding is shared by commercial and public broadcasters. The Darwin trial is fully funded by the local commercial station.
Commercial radio stations 2CA, 2CC, Mix 106.3, 104.7, My Canberra, Hot Country, Canberra 100 and Buddha, plus multicultural and multilingual stations SBS Radio 1 and SBS Radio 2, SBS Pop Asia and SBS Chill continue to broadcast on the low power DAB+ trial. ABC joined the trial in 2011 and stations 666 ABC Canberra, ABC Jazz, Radio National, Double J and ABC Grandstand, are together with the commercial stations in adding to the choice of services available to Canberra audiences.
Hot 100 and Mix 104.9 and digital only services, Top Country Digital, Classic Rock and Radio TAB will continue DAB+ trial services in Darwin. Canberra and Darwin DAB+ trials are the first outside the metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
The DAB+ trial signal in both Canberra and Darwin is at low power but ongoing tests have indicated coverage at low power has been able to extend to a large part of the Canberra and Darwin areas. A boost was required to retransmit the trial signal into Parliament House and this has provided additional testing opportunities for “in building” coverage in a challenging structure. The trial services continue to be subject to occasional interruptions and changes in power for ongoing technical testing.
The latest DAB+ listening and sales figures are now available in the 2014 Digital Radio Industry Report.