What’s the Status of Digital Radio in Russia?

The country appears to be leaning away from DRM and toward DAB+
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MOSCOW — What’s the status of digital radio in Russia? Back in 2011 we reported that Russia was leaning in the direction of DRM. Now, however, nag.ru is reporting that the country is looking to “expand broadcasting” thoughout the country using DAB+. 

The allocation of frequencies was done by the State Commission on Radio Frequencies following the meeting held on April 16.

The band planned for usage is 175.872 to 228.128 MHz and the possibility of using these frequencies was confirmed by the Research Institute of Radio, which conducted tests of compatibility of DAB + networks with networks already operating in Russia. 

“The use of digital format will not only increase the number of stations, but also significantly improve the quality of sound transmission in comparison with an analog signal,” according to the same article.

“...the obstacle for deploying digital radio is the need to replace receiving equipment. Over the past years, users have had a huge number of devices with the ability to receive FM radio stations. In order to receive the DAB+ signal they have to be replaced and this is extremely expensive.” 

The same article goes on to say that, while an FM radio can be had for 300-400 rubles, DAB+-capable radios cost four to five times more, and the number of models available is “extremely limited.” 

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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