Monday, 16 December 2013

Ofcom to pursue DAB-lite for smaller stations....

I've been accused of being part of an "anti-DAB" campaign. Lets be clear, I think DAB was a brilliant development, in the 1980's it was an ingenious technically advanced solution. The trouble is that it was a solution to the wrong problem. It was devised largely with big European state broadcasters and national or regional commercial services in mind.

Before the days of the world wide web the specifications did not even consider the need for interactivity and access by a range of originators, large and small.

So I'm pleased to see that the Arts and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey today told the Go digital conference that the government will be providing funds over the next two years for Ofcom to build on the work of its Brighton pilot to develop small-scale DAB solutions, to allow smaller radio stations to go digital.

Vaizey told the conference: "We all know how much people love their small local commercial and community radio stations. That is why we have always said that we will reserve a part of the FM spectrum for as long as it is needed for those stations that are too small to make the switch to digital. This remains the case.

"We will also be consulting shortly on how we can improve the viability of the community radio sector by removing some of the complex and restrictive financing regulations currently in place.

"But wouldn’t it also be great if people could also get this local content on digital? I have for some time wanted to see progress on new solutions for small stations to have a route to DAB which meets their needs."

If we can find ways to open-up DAB so that it mirrors our expectations of every other digital medium - for accessibility, flexibility, interactivity and choice - then I'm all for it.

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