NATO Takes Issue With Norway’s DAB+ Spectrum Allocation

There could be an existential problem looming for Norway's digital radio service in the 230-240 MHz band
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OSLO — Those of you following the saga of the FM switch-off in Norway have read both positive and negative takes on the outcome.

You might find it interesting to know that there could be an existential problem looming for DAB+ in Norway. The Aftenposten website recently published an article on how NATO insists that the spectrum used by DAB in Norway was actually supposed to be for their exclusive use.

Evidently, war games are planned for Norway in October and November, and 29 nations will be sending some 40,000 troops there, reports lokalradio.no. Communications Manager Knut Granhagen of the Cyber ​​Defense told Aftenposten that NATO “strongly urges” that they be allowed to use the 225-240 frequency range for what is called "primary use." Norwegian nationwide DAB operates in the 230-240 MHz band.

Norwegian communications regulator Nkom said the article from Aftenposten reporting the conflict with NATO over the use of spectrum reserved for DAB radio has “caused unnecessary concerns,” according to telecompaper.com.

NKom says Norway can decide for itself how to use the spectrum, provided there is no breach of international agreements, and stated that the use of spectrum for the Norwegian DAB network was coordinated internationally and agreed to by more than 30 European countries. Nkom stated they would not allow anyone to use airwaves if it could disrupt normal broadcasting services, according to Telecompaper. Anyone using radio frequencies in Norway must obtain a permit from Nkom — even the national armed forces and Norway’s NATO allies.

In Sweden “the Armed Forces were clear when the Swedish authorities discussed FM shutdown,” according to radionytt.no. “They just used the justification that using certain DAB frequencies would be in violation of NATO's needs and that FM shutdown could weaken the readiness.” 

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France’s CSA has approved seven sites in the Hauts-de-France (the north of France) for DAB+; Germany will remain a VHF country for the foreseeable future; and in Norway, over-the-air radio listenership appears to have stabilized