Sydney, Australia - Jul 25, 2012 - Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) welcomed the decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to extend the DAB+ digital radio trial licenses in Canberra and Darwin for an additional 12 months.
The experimental licenses were first issued in 2010 and were extended in 2011. They have been extended once again to allow for further field testing and continued coverage modeling. The results will be used by the industry and ACMA in the planning of the DAB+ rollout to other regional areas. Both regional trials have provided valuable information, in particular understanding the tradeoff between signal robustness and improved capacity. The increased capacity would allow the commercial stations to share a multiplex with the public broadcasters for a more cost effective and efficient roll out to regional Australia.
An area of on-going investigation is gauging the impact on the digital signal of extreme weather and ground water and importantly to develop more information about the use of a single high-powered site with some repeaters, similar to the current FM model, in the rollout of DAB+ digital radio to regional Australia. The Darwin trial has attracted interest from international broadcasters considering the DAB+ technology, including Indonesia and Thailand, both of which have similar climatic conditions.
Commercial radio stations 2CA, 2CC, Mix 106.3, 104.7, Classic Hits Plus, My Canberra, Hot Country and Radar, 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 stations - 666 ABC Canberra, ABC Jazz, Radio National, triple j Unearthed and ABC Grandstand joined the trial in 2011and these are all adding to the choice of services available to regional 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 have been the first outside the metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.