National DAB+ Service Inches Forward in Germany

May 19, 2010

Movement toward establishing a national DAB+ seems to be making incremental progress, as six broadcast groups are said to have tendered bids for inclusion on a national multiplex and are contracting with network operator Media Broadcast as it prepares to begin assembly of the system's transmission infrastructure.

Germany's Commission of Broadcasting (Rundfunkkommission) has already approved the 10- to 15-channel nationwide multiplex, while German regulatory authority BNetzA has designated spectrum for the new single frequency network.

The current plan calls for the national network be supplemented by two or three multiplexes in each of the nation's 16 regions to provide regional and local radio from both public and private broadcasters.

Organizing a re-launch of digital radio in Germany has been a fitful process, largely because of skepticism from commercial broadcasters who felt earlier government and private investments in DAB were wasted when those multiplexes failed to draw many listeners. A recent survey suggests that support from the commercial sector is still weak with only 26 percent of content providers planning to bid for inclusion nationally. But with strong support from public broadcasters and increased interest in the technology from consumer electronics manufacturers, private financial support for the process appears to be solidifying.

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