Will 5G Be an Effective Media for Broadcast Radio in the Future?

In Austria, radio's future may not only include digital terrestrial broadcasting
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LOS ANGELES — Often we cover digital radio and 5G as separate topics. This time, however, we have an opportunity to cover both in the same article. 

Let’s turn our attention towards Austria, where the new federal government “in addition to the clear commitment to the digitization of terrestrial broadcasting, also anchors the goal of making Austria one of the leading countries in 5G expansion,” according to this article in leadersnet.at

Several questions are posed:

  • What potential does 5G offer for the classic medium of radio?
  • What features can this technology fulfill?
  • Which new program formats and business models are possible?
  • What investments could be necessary as a result?

The Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP), Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ) and the Association Digital Radio Austria were invited to consider possible scenarios of technology 5G in the field of radio.

“The 5G standard could be a newly developed market in the terminal sector from 2025 onwards. However, many other applications are likely to rely on the bandwidth of 5G, so it is questionable whether 5G could succeed as an important digital transmission path for radio at all,” according to Reiner Müller, the Deputy Managing Director and Division Manager Technology / IT of the Bavarian State Center for New Media in Munich.

“The analog-terrestrial possibilities in the radio sector (FM) are qualitatively and quantitatively limited by the regulated market and the free access for the listeners,” according to Wolfgang Struber of the Digital Radio Austria Association, from the same article. "That's why digital terrestrial is the way to bring radio into the digital future, complemented by the possibilities of the 5G standard, i.e., an unregulated market with restricted access for listeners."

"For the future of the medium of radio, it is crucial that it is available on all platforms," said Corinna Drumm, the VÖP managing director. “The commercially most important distribution path for them is VHF. In addition, IP-based distribution via streams, podcasts and more would become increasingly important. In addition, there will be digital terrestrial in the form of DAB +, which will be available in Austria from 2018. The rapid expansion of the DAB + network and rapid market penetration with DAB + terminals are critical for success." According to Drumm the expansion of a high-performance 5G network is important, not only for the supply of the population with broadband Internet, but also with Austrian broadcasting services. "When auctioning future mobile radio frequency spectrum, the Republic must ensure through appropriate conditions that the mobile access to the streaming offers of Austrian broadcasters for the public and broadcasters is free," said Drumm.

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