Australia's DAB+ Rollout isn't all Hearts and Roses

October 21, 2009

While it might appear that Australia's well-coordinated move to DAB+ radio technology is going reasonably well, a recent article by Lara Sinclair in The Australian suggests that the digital rollout there isn't immune from the kinds of teething issues experienced with new radio technologies deploying elsewhere around the globe.

Among the biggest complaint reported among early adopters are so-called black spots, coverage holes within the footprint of DAB+ multiplexes now operating in the nation's five largest metropolitan areas. While engineers for Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) are said to be working closely with telecom regulators to fill those gaps, it will probably be some time before the DAB+ experience becomes a seamless experience for mobile users.

Another complaint may sound familiar to those following the saga of IBOC digital radio here in the United States: Consumer electronic outlet sales associates know little or nothing about the new digital receivers or their advanced feature sets, despite a deliberate effort to educate those in the retail industry.

Even so, receiver sales during the first year of operation, which rolls around next June, are expected to exceed the initial projection of 20,000 SKUs, with some retailers expecting total sales double that number. Commercial Radio Australia CEO Jane Warner reportedly says her group hopes to have an official accounting of receiver sales figures available sometime after the Christmas shopping season.

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