Italy approves commercial launch of DAB+ digital radio
December 7th, 2009

Text of press release published by digital radio promotion body WorldDMB on 4 December

In a historic move, Italy’s regulator approved the regulation to allow the commercial launch of DAB+ [Digital Audio Broadcasting - Plus] digital radio services for the first time.

Following wide industry consultation, the Italian radio broadcasters, public and commercial, worked in collaboration to produce regulation which allows the radio sector to move to digital adding benefits for both broadcasters and listeners.

The regulation will allow broadcasters across Italy to migrate their services from analogue to digital, offering listeners new content and multimedia services. Listeners will also have access to a growing number of exciting new DAB+ receivers from manufacturers such as PURE Digital.

Mr Fabrizio Guidi, president of Club DAB Italia, said: “We are very happy that the regulation has been approved paving the way for digital radio for the Italian broadcasting industry.”

“Digital radio is the ...ure. The Italian industry and the regulator are making a strong statement that radio is important. A well-designed regulatory framework will give this developing market the stability to roll out efficiently and keep the industry competitive within the highly dynamic media world. We know regulation produced in this way, with the input from all interested parties, is most effective in making digital radio a success and we urge other markets considering going digital to adopt this approach,” said Jorn Jensen, president of WorldDMB.

The Italian regulation clearly states that DAB+ digital radio will be launched in Band III [174-230 MHz]. It provides regulation on coverage, networks for national services, spectrum allocation for services, local coverage and rules on simulcasting and new content. The regulation will be put into effect from January 2010 and digital radio development will move forward from here.

Digital radio is currently commercially available in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The symbolic launch of the digital radio took place in Paris recently, with the launch of 60 services using DMB radio [editor's note: France's broadcasting regulator has postponed the launch of digital terrestrial radio test transmissions - using the T-DMB standard - until late 2010].

Ireland, Hungary and Sweden are also in a phase where clear regulation guidelines are needed to accelerate the adoption of digital radio on the DAB, DAB+ and DMB.

(Source: WorldDMB website, London, in English 4 Dec 09 via BBC Monitoring)