Digital Radio News From the UK, France and the Netherlands

DAB+ developments in western Europe
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LONDON � The UK Government�s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport wants to hear from anyone with an interest in low-power DAB as it aims to have new licensing arrangements in place by the end of the year.

The government is proposing that small-scale radio multiplex licenses can be awarded to both commercial and not-for-profit entities, and that space will be reserved on them for community radio stations, according to radiotoday.co.uk. DCMS wants transparent pricing, with Ofcom publishing charges on its website for each multiplex.

�Local radio is much loved and vitally important as a source of objective and in touch local news. As more power is devolved locally, and as local newspapers struggle, local radio�s role in the community is becoming more and more critical,� said DCMS Minister Matt Hancock, quoted in the same article. ��we are working hard with stations and listeners to make sure the rules are up to date, and give local radio the chance to use new digital technology to reach audiences, new and longstanding, old and young.�

France�s CSA on Dec. 20�officially adopted a new schedule to accelerate implementation of DAB+ across the country, reports offremedia.com. First, in July, CSA will seek interested parties in 15 different zones of the country, each of which will have at least 175000 in population. Each zone will include an �extended� allotment (presumably meaning regional) as well as a local allotment. In July 2019, a similar solicitation will issue for another 15 areas.

Also in July of this year, after �consultations with stakeholders� and in consideration of the results of an impact study, there will be a solicitation for two �metropolitan� allotments.

France is still just �dipping its toes� into DAB+: Digital transmissions have been going on in Paris, Nice and Marseille since June 2014. Listeners will be able to use DAB+ in Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg in spring of this year.

In the Netherlands, The DAB+ network provider, Broadcast Partners, has added to the national network, increasing its coverage to 97% of the country, according to telecompaper.com. National stations benefitting from this coverage increase are Radio 538, Veronica, Sky Radio, Radio 10, Qmusic, Sublime FM, 100% NL, BNR News Radio and SLAM!�

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