by Bernie O’Neill, Project Director, WorldDAB
NBTC Thailand and Voice of Vietnam both provided further details and timelines for the planned DAB+ trials at this week’s ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur.
Orasri Srirasa at ABU DBS
Speaking at the DAB+ workshop organised by WorldDAB as part of ABU DBS, Orasri Srirasa from the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission in Thailand highlighted the progress Thailand has made on its path towards digitisation.
A 20 month trial is expected to go on air this year in Bangkok and the areas surrounding the capital, with a total of 11 stations set to take part in the trial. The first phase of the trial – the technical test – is expected to start in April 2019, and will be followed by the launch of basic services in July 2019. Finally, the third and final phase of the trial – the launch of advanced services – is expected to be completed in 2020.
In Thailand, over 50% of radio listening happens in the home, 35% in-car, with the remainder of listening taking place in the office or other places.
A significant amount of work has already been undertaken by NBTC and its partners in order to arrive at this point – including development of a roadmap and strategy for the deployment of digital radio services, user survey, cost analysis, and frequency planning.
The Thailand DAB+ trial in more detail:
The frequency plan for the DAB+ digital radio trial covers 10 cities (9 provices) – Bangkok, Chiangmai, Kon Kaen, Nakorn Ratchasima, Sriracha, Pattaya, Prachaup Khiri Khan, Nakorn Si Thammarat, Songkla and Phuket.
The objective of the trial will be to discover appropriate network parameters in different environments, and to demonstrate interference free audio, business models, introduce new data services on DAB+ including slideshow, data, emergency warning, EPG, and pop-up services.
The initial trial will go on-air in April 2019 covering Bangkok and the immediate vicinity, and will last for a period of 20 months, until end 2021. The trial network will consist of one DAB+ multiplex with a capacity of up to 18 services. There will be a total of 11 trial services (programmes) on air with the trial, including one test channel. The top 10 most popular commercial radio channels will broadcast alongside public services covering traffic information, and will include also the major incumbent radio broadcasters (RTA, MCOT, and PRD).
Do Anh Duc at ABU DBS
Do Anh Duc from the Voice of Vietnam, the Vietnamese national radio broadcaster advised that following an initial trial in 2013, Vietnam is now ready to proceed with a further DAB+ trial in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh starting in April 2019.
The trial will include between 4 and 16 channels, using 2.5 kW transmitters. The objectives of the trial are to evaluate coverage parameters and to test signal and sound quality.
The planned 2019 trial will be evaluated in 2020, with a report submitted to the government for approval in 2021, and with the ambitious goal of converting from analogue to digital radio by 2025.
Vietnam currently has a total of 56 FM stations, and deploys 22 MW transmitters, 13 SW transmitters with 15 radio channels.