Australia's political leadership is now experiencing commercial digital radio firsthand, compliments of a low-power DAB+ multiplex that began operation earlier this month during a brief ceremony at Parliament house, located in the capital city of Canberra.
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy officially switched on the system on March 2 during an event sponsored by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and attended by legislators, officials and various industry representatives. Digital radios manufactured by Bush, Grundig, NextWave Digital, OXX Digital, Philips, Pure, Roberts, Sangean, Tangent and Teac were presented to individual parliament members.
The 12-channel multiplex signal is a locally boosted retransmission of the Canberra regional multiplex that signed on in July 2010. The booster was required "in order to navigate the manmade and natural challenges of the unique Parliament House structure," according to a CRA press release. DAB+ is currently operating in Australia's five largest urban markets, with regional trials taking place in Canberra and Darwin.
Commercial radio broadcasters Capital Radio, ARN and Austereo, along with public service broadcaster SBS, are jointly funding the trial.