FM spectrum on the whole is congested in the Arab states and the development of digital radio is developing at various rates. However it is widely acknowledged that the spectrum efficient DAB+ digital radio standard is appealing to Arab countries and the enhanced audio quality offered appeals to the listener.
The low cost of receivers is also appealing to the Arab States. Internationally the price of DAB+ devices has fallen significantly. Instead of costing over hundred USD which it used to be a few years ago, consumers today can instead pay as little as 33 USD. The price of devices will fall even further as more DAB+ markets emerge and new DAB+ silicon solutions come to market.
DAB+ adoption by the Arab States
It is expected that the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) will adopt DAB+ and work is also underway by the ASBU on establishing working groups to compile all the necessary information to properly prepare and inform the whole broadcast chain on all issues of digital radio implementation.
In 2014 ASBU will support DAB+ trials such as the one taking place in Oman and will work to ensure successful DAB+ trails through looking at issues such as receiver distribution plans. From the perspective of the ASBU, DAB+ is a proven technology and is ready to be implemented in the region. The low cost of receivers is a decisive factor in the implementation of DAB+ digital radio technology by member countries of the ASBU and the launch of DAB+ trials in a number of Arab States especially in the capitals will help in spreading the message of the benefits of DAB+. The ASBU would encourage Arab broadcasters to approach their respective country regulators to provide incentives for both public and private broadcasters to adopt DAB+ such as those seen in other countries
As an organisation, the ASBU is ready to spread awareness among its members to convey the benefits of DAB+ to local regulators. WorldDMB has also been invited to provide the ASBU with expertise and assistance on setting up trials through providing support through technical expertise and sourcing equipment to help aide the momentum of DAB+ rollout.
The following information was presented to delegates at the 19th WorldDMB General Assembly by Bassil Zoubi, Head of Transmission, Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU)