Darren Willsher, WorldDAB
In a significant step for DAB+ in the country, earlier this month the board of Rai, Italy’s public broadcaster, approved the technical project for the expansion of DAB+ services.
The Rai Board, which met under the chairmanship of Monica Maggioni and in the presence of the General Manager Mario Orfeo, approved the technical project for DAB development in the country, which will bring digital radio services to most Italian motorways and the E45 highway.
The E45 route is the longest North-South route in Europe, running from Norway through Denmark, Germany, Austria and into Italy. Norway was the first country to switch off national FM services, the Danish government has proposed a closure of FM broadcasting two years after more than half of radio listening is digital or in 2021 at the latest, digital radio services were recently launched in Austria and Germany now has 97% population coverage and over 150 DAB+ services on-air.
Rai’s announcement follows a DAB+ conference held at its head office in Rome earlier in the month. At the conference, Roberto Sergio, Director Radio Rai, said that, “In terms of technology and production, we are now totally digital, and in terms of coverage, we have allocated significant investment that will allow us to cover the so-called ‘Motorway T’ ahead of schedule, by the end of 2018.”
85% of the population will be covered by a DAB+ signal by end 2018 and from 2020, all new receivers sold must have digital capability thanks to a law that was passed at the start of 2018. The latest announcement from Rai is a clear sign that DAB+ in Italy is going from strength to strength and we’re looking forward to seeing how the rest of the year develops.