Norway first to switch off FM

Norway is set to be the first country to shut down FM radio, beginning in 2017.

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture announced this week it has set the date for the shut down, making it the first country to move away from FM radio entirely.  The country is set to adopt Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as the national standard.  

The proposal was first introduced back in 2011, and the government has confirmed that the country is capable of meeting the requirements for a smoooth transition to digital.

“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio-content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality,” Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in a statement. “Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development.”

DAB has been available in Norway since 1995, with DAB+ made available in 2007.  DAB currently offers 22 national channels, while FM only has five.  There are no AM stations in Norway any more. It has the capacity to host an additional 20 more channels.  

The ministry also reports that FM radio is costing eight times more that DAB.

It will be up to radio broadcasters to choose between DAB and DAB+, although they say it’s likely most will choose DAB+.

Several other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are also considering a move to DAB, but no other country has confirmed a date.

Norway’s FM shutdown will begin on January 11th, 2017.

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