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Further expansion but no switchover for DAB digital radio

The BBC, Government and commercial radio are to invest £21 million in expanding DAB digital radio coverage, but a date to switch radio across to digital only will not be set at this point in time.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey announced a package of measures that will provide more people with access to digital radio and told today’s Go Digital Conference in London that "while great progress had been made in rolling-out digital radio, we needed to continue improving the service before a decision can be taken to switchover."

45% of the UK population live in homes with DAB digital radio.
41.6% of new cars sold in October had DAB digital radio, up from 4.4% in 2010.
50% - the increase in listeners to BBC Radio 4extra since the rebrand from BBC Radio 7
National DAB coverage to increase
Coverage boost to match Classic FM analogue

Ofcom to advertise licence for 2nd national commercial multiplex.
Extra transmitters
Up to 91.55% (indoor) coverage by 2016.
END OF 2015
Responses from industry

Helen Boaden, BBC Director of Radio, said: 
"We welcome today’s announcement of the expansion of DAB coverage for BBC local stations over the next few years. By the end of 2015 our national network will also benefit from the addition of 162 new transmitters."

Ashley Tabor, Founder & Executive President of Global, said:
"This is the biggest boost to local DAB coverage in many years, and a great result for listeners all over the country. We are delighted that local DAB coverage will finally match FM coverage for local commercial radio stations. We want all our local stations, that are part of the Capital and Heart networks, to enjoy good coverage on DAB, and this will soon be a reality as a result of this agreement. The real winner here is the listener."

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media, said:
"Today’s announcement from the Minister is a positive step forward for our industry. This announcement and the support promised by the Government is vital to all those who work in the radio sector. The continued growth of DAB means listeners will benefit from an increased choice of stations, a better radio listening experience and a certainty that they can tune in 24/7 to the best radio content on offer worldwide."

Steve Holebrook, Managing Director of Terrestrial Broadcast, Arqiva, said:
"Arqiva is committed to radio’s digital future. Over the last 18 months we have built seven new local muxes giving 6 million listeners access to local DAB services. We have also launched national DAB in Northern Ireland for the very first time. Over the next two years we will be expanding the BBC’s national services to cover 97% of the population, adding 2.5 million new DAB listeners, as well as supporting the newly announced local coverage expansion."


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