Norway's Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday that FM switch-off would commence on 11th January 2017, with a region-by-region switchover running until 13th December 2017.
DAB coverage in Norway already exceeds FM coverage. Digital radio provides access to 22 national stations, compared to just 5 national FM stations. Norway uses the DAB+ standard for its service.
As reported by the radio.no website, NRK, P4 Group and SBS Radio will turn off all its FM broadcasts simultaneously in two of six regions. In four regions however, NRK Radio will lead the way in FM-switch off.
Thor Gjermund Eriksen, head of Norwegian Public Service Broadcaster NRK, said:
"This is an important day for everyone who loves radio. The minister`s decision allows us to concentrate our resources even more upon what is most important, namely to create high quality and diverse radio-content to our listeners."
Industry leaders welcomed the news:
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK responded to this morning's announcement saying:
“Norway was the first country to switchover to digital TV and we expect their announcement of a 2017 radio switchover to signal the start of a transition to digital radio across a number of European markets. In the UK the Government believes the future of radio is digital, and we are making good progress on achieving the agreed switchover coverage and listening criteria.”
Patrick Hannon, President of WorldDMB said that Norway was sending a 'clear signal' to the world regarding digital radio:
“This announcement is a key milestone in the development of digital radio. It sends a clear signal to Europe and the rest of the world that digital radio is the platform of the future. Norway’s success has been based on a clear plan and strong commitment from broadcasters, policy makers and manufacturers.”