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Sweden trials DRM+ digital radio standard for smaller radio stations on FM

Stockholm, where DRM+ is being tested

In Sweden, tests have begun using the new digital radio system DRM+ on FM. The tests could form the basis of allowing smaller scale stations, including community stations to go digital.

The first DRM+ test transmissions went on air in the Stockholm area during the past week. The test trial is run with a DRM+ transmitter on the 97.0 MHz FM band with a power of 500 Watts (ERP).

The first six months of test trials are being made in consultation with the Post and Telecom Authority in Sweden (PTS).

Digital Radio Sweden (DRS), who are behind the tests state: "The DRS’ objective is to present alternative or complementary technologies to DAB and thus facilitate competent and well-informed policy decision making before switching from analogue to digital radio.

"We believe in the importance to invest in technologies that are future-proof and optimal also for small-scale broadcasters such as local commercial or community radio stations."

The recently set up organisation does not believe that DAB offers any production, integration, technical or general advantage over DRM.

DRM is currently best known as a way of digitalising broadcasts on AM and SW, and the BBC World Service currently broadcasts some programming via DRM on SW in the mornings. DRM+ is the name applied to the DRM standard when used in the VHF frequencies. DRM+ provides bit rates from 35 kbps to 185 kbps at SNRs from 2 dB to 14dB and, like DRM, permits up to four services.

In the UK, Ofcom has been assessing an alternative method using the DAB standard to enable smaller stations to go digital, following tests on an experimental DAB multiplex in the Brighton area. 

Watching the Neighbours
This is part of an occasional series of articles featuring developments in Europe of interest to UK readers:
Italy: Discovery takes Six Nations Rugby to Italy with Simplestream (02 Feb 2014)

Europe: ITV launches European Catch-Up platform  (13 Nov 2013)

Germany: German PSBs plan DVB-T2 migration; DVB-T switch-off 2020 (20 Sep 2013)

Ireland: RTÉ plans GB channel and to take Saorview Anywhere (16 Sep 2013) 

Germany: New channel gives Europe access to English language shows (8 Sep 2013)

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