EU Countries Assess Digitization and Other Spectrum Challenges

Romania, Switzerland and Poland experiment with DAB+, FM sunsetting and more
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BRUSSELS — Romanian communications regulator ANCOM will propose legislative amendments ahead of a new DTT tender due to take place in the second half of the year, reports broadbandtvnews.com. This proposal is the result of a public consultation on the spectrum available in the VHF band (174-230 MHz) aimed at transforming a VHF digital TV multiplex into four T-DAB+ national multiplexes.

Also being considered is another option that would create four T-DAB+ national multiplexes in the 174-216 MHz band and 47 multiplexes in the 216-230 MHz band. This would allow for the distribution of a large number of channels of different genres, according to the same article.

In Switzerland, it is expected that in the autumn of 2019 a decision will be taken whether FM will go off completely in 2021, according to radio.nl. The original plan was that this would take place in phases between 2020 and 2024, but use of digital radio is growing rapidly there.

“On average, the number of listeners decreases by 8% per year via FM. If this decline continues, then by the end of 2020 less than 25% will be listening [to FM]...that is why the radio stations want to implement the disconnection of FM as quickly as possible. After all, dual distribution costs a lot of money,” according to the same article.

In Poland, local multiplexes of digital radio will soon be created. The National Council of Radio Broadcasting and Television is planning on the digitization of radio in Poland; in the second half of the year, it will announce competitions for local digital multiplexes in 34 cities.

More specifically the plan calls for the use of 47 different frequencies in the 34 locations (including in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Kraków, Poznań and Szczecin), and each of the multiplexes will be able to accommodate up to 12 stations, according to wirtualnemedia.pl

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