In 2013 Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) will begin serious dialogue with the Federal Government and the Federal opposition about funding for the rollout of DAB+ in regional Australia. over 60 percent of the Australian population has access to DAB+ in the five state capitals of Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, and through the low power trials in Canberra and Darwin it is clear that both the industry and listeners are very keen for regional radio to have access to DAB+ digital radio, like their metropolitan counterparts.
Official data shows the DAB+ technology tracking well ahead of forecasts. CRA’s most recent release of data, at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2012 revealed digital radio sales and listening figures recorded a significant rise. The total number of receivers sold since the 2009 launch is over 1 million (1004,966) and listening figures from survey 8 show nearly 1.5 million people are now listening via a DAB+ device each week.
DAB+ in regional Australia
After a complex channel planning and cost modelling exercise with regional broadcasters, CRA has developed and submitted a Regional Rollout and Funding proposal for the Federal Government.
DAB+ digital radio will result in a significant upgrade to existing towers and site infrastructure in regional Australia. The rollout of digital radio in regional Australia will involve building integrated digital radio multiplexes with new broadcast antennae and transmission equipment in each of the 98 regional licence areas, and smaller infill transmissions to ensure consistent reception across the population centres of regional licence areas.
DAB+ in vehicles
With 34% of radio listening in the car, the industry continues to work closely with automotive suppliers to encourage them to line fit DAB+ solutions. With 16 million registered vehicles on the road in Australia, the DAB+ aftermarket will be a focus in early 2013.
CRA is planning a DAB+ breakfast workshop for the automotive aftermarket installers in February 2013 to provide advice and information about coverage, receiver solutions and how to optimise reception through antenna placement. DAB+ is now available as standard in Australia in; Toyota Camry Atara sL, Aurion and hybrid sedans, hino trucks and Lexus Gs. BMW, Audi, Land Rover and Mercedes offer DAB+ as an option. After market receivers available include: Pure highway, Philips, Crystal, JVC, Kenwood, sonyand Directed Electronics’ Orion.
DAB+ trials in Canberra, Darwin and On Channel RepeaterB in Melbourne
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has extended the DAB+ scientific licences in Canberra and Darwin and for the on Channel Repeater in Melbourne. Trial activities include testing the trade off between capacity and signal robustness for different Forward Error Correction (FEC) code rates, under a range of geographical conditions.
other activities include single frequency network sFn research which will have implications for regional roll out, and evaluation of DAB+ transmission performance under extreme weather conditions such as tropical storms and cyclones.
DAB+ in multimedia devices including mobile phone handsets
CRA continues to test adaptors and mobile handsets which offer DAB+ as these further develop the platform and offer listeners and advertisers a hybrid device which uses the push and power of free to air broadcast to provide information whilst supporting interactivity through the pull of the back channel with information able to be sourced on demand.
DAB+ in the Asia Pacific region
Broadcasters and regulators in the Asia Pacific are increasingly aware of, and interested in adopting, the DAB+ platform. CRA will continue to host study tours from interested broadcasters in the region and following the successful DAB+ showcase in Jakarta in 2012, is planning a DAB+ Technology showcase in Thailand in March 2013 on behalf of WorldDMB.
Commercial Radio Australia