Taiwan looks set to abandon DAB
November 30th, 2008

It looks as if plans to develop Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in Taiwan have failed. The development of DAB in Taiwan has passed through three stages: planning, preparation and a final stage characterized by setbacks. It now looks like it may disappear altogether.

In 2001, the government planned 10 groups of radio stations, including most of Taiwan’s most renowned radio stations, to take part in a DAB trial. It was a big project and participants were full of hope. At the preparatory stage in 2004, the first round of applications for digital broadcasting licences opened.

After the application review in 2005, six companies obtained trial licences but only one, Tai Yi Digital Broadcasting, went ahead with trial broadcasts. A joint venture established between Taiwan Mobile — which owned 49.7 percent of the shares — E-Ten Information Systems Co, Hit FM and IC FM 97.5, it was the only operator led by telecommunications companies.

After two years of trials, DAB experienced problems, partly because of a lack of promotion, inadequate public knowledge of the technology and high-priced DAB radios that few were willing to purchase. As a result there were too few consumers to keep DAB up and running. In July this year, Taiwan Mobile announced that Tai Yi would be dissolved, and the outlook for other DAB providers is not very bright.

The biggest problem for Taiwan’s DAB industry was a lack of forward-looking policies. Many reports show that lack of promotion is the biggest problem with digital technology in Taiwan. In a survey on radio broadcasting conducted by the Government Information Office in 2006, 57 percent of businesses agreed and 34 percent strongly agreed that the government lacked effective policies, while 55 percent agreed and 34 percent strongly agreed that the government lacked supporting measures.

(Source: Taipei Times)