CRA Report: Mobile Broadband Comms Not Replacement for Broadcast Radio

A report released today by Commercial Radio Australia and written by Professor Reg Coutts (Coutts Communications) finds that mobile broadband communications networks, particularly in regional areas (meaning outside the 5 capital cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne) are not a replacement for broadcast free-to-air radio.
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SYDNEY� A report released today by Commercial Radio Australia and written by Professor Reg Coutts (Coutts Communications) finds that mobile broadband communications networks, particularly in regional areas (meaning outside the 5 capital cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne) are not a replacement for broadcast free-to-air radio.

The report was originally commissioned by CRA and is available in its entirety here. Some of Professor Coutts more salient points are:

� Techno-economic analysis demonstrates upgraded mobile broadband communications networks cannot economically substitute for the need for DAB+ Digital Radio in Australia.

� Generalizing to regional Australia, mobile networks are less cost effective compared to DAB+ Digital Radio in regional areas to carry broadcast radio content

� Only major regional centers and major highways are likely to be provided with 4G LTE with most regional coverage being met with 3G

� The use of LTE broadcast will require further sites to provide regional coverage and is unlikely to be made available outside regional townships

� Listeners to streamed local radio on LTE broadcast would experience loss of service when moving to the more extensive LTE or 3G coverage.

From Professor Coutts'' conclusion:

�The report demonstrates that mobile broadband networks generally, and in regional areas particularly, cannot substitute as an alternative platform for broadcast radio delivery by broadcasters.

�The deployment of LTE broadcast by the MNOs in regional areas is unlikely because of the less effective use of bandwidth in the regional mobile networks and it will be extremely unlikely to provide adequate listening experience for regional audiences.

�A more spectrum efficient and cost effective approach for digital radio is to extend DAB+ Digital Radio spectrum allocations to regional Australia.

�Again while not able to foretell the future, innovative hybrid solutions of both Internet Radio and broadcast Digital Radio now available are consistent with a future increasing innovation to meet a greater diversity of desires of users who are rightly determined to be ignorant of these sectoral supply perspectives.

�Digital content available over a diversity of digital delivery channels is powering a one device approach.

There is a need for both the broadcasting industry and telecommunications industry to be open to both technology innovation and different business models and work together for mutual business benefit and the general benefit to the whole population.

�Innovative regional broadcasters are at increasing business risk if they cannot incorporate such hybrid digital solutions currently only available to metropolitan broadcasters.�

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