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Digital radio: switchover in Norway soon to be concluded

posted on 12 March, 2015   (public)

Digital Radio: switchover in Norway soon to be concluded

Two reports on the radio digital switchover have recently been published and have been presented to the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. The report from the Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) of 27 February 2015 contains information about the current situation on the switchover criteria no. 3 (digital added value), 4 (solutions for in-car reception) and 5 (digital listening), while the report from the Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom) of 10 February 2015 provided information about coverage (criteria no. 1 and 2).

Digital listening and coverage

  • Radio ratings measured by TNS Gallup on behalf of NMA show that digital listening at the start of 2015 reached 56%. One of the switchover criteria set by the Norwegian Parliament is that at least 50 per cent of daily radio-listeners must employ digital platforms by 1st January 2015, if the switchover is going to take place in 2017. Criteria no. 5 thus seems to be met. Digital radio listening has increased from 31 percent in 2012 to 56% by year-end 2014.  
  • On 10 February, Nkom concluded in its report that switchover criteria concerning population coverage for the NRK radio services and for the multiplex that carries commercial national services are fulfilled (criteria no. 1 and 2).     

Other switchover criteria

  • NMA’s report shows that there are 22 national radio stations transmitting on DAB/DAB+. In addition there are trial broadcasts with local radio on DAB+ in some regions.
  • Radio receivers for home and cars are available on the Norwegian market with a variety of specifications and prices. The consumers have access to DAB+ radio receivers in all the major electronic stores and from online stores.
  • The Norwegian Government will decide whether or not the switchover criteria are fulfilled, particularly whether or not the availability of DAB+ radio channels and the range of products qualify to fulfill criteria no. 3 and 4. It is expected that the Norwegian Government will come to its decision in early spring 2015.

Local radio

  • Report no. 8 to the Storting (2010–2011), the Norwegian proposal to the Parliament on the digitalization of radio, proposed that the majority of local radio stations should have the right to continue transmitting in FM beyond 2017.
  • A new report to the Storting concerning digitization of local radio is expected in 2015.

NMA’s Report: "Statusrapport nr. 6/2015 – Slukkevilkår for digitalradioovergang" (NO)
Nkom’s Report: "Vurdering om dekningsvilkår for avvikling av FM er oppfylt+ (NO)


Report No.8 (2010-2011) to the Storting (the Norwegian proposal on the digitalization of radio to the Parliament) set five switchover criteria that must be fulfilled if the digital switchover is to be finalized.
The following three conditions are absolute and must be fulfilled regardless of when switchover takes place:
  • 1. Digital coverage for the NRK’s radio services correspond to that of NRK P1 on FM.
  • 2. The multiplex that carries commercial national services must cover at least 90% of the population.
  • 3. The digital radio offer must represent added value to the listeners.
The above three conditions, as well as the two following conditions, must be fulfilled by 1 January 2015 for the switchover to take place in January 2017.
  • 4. Affordable and technically satisfactory solutions for in-car radio reception must be available.
  • 5. At least 50% of daily radio-listeners employ digital platforms (technology that transmits digital radio; DAB/DAB+, Internet, DTT, cable, satellite, smartphones, iPads etc.).
Provided the absolute criteria (1-3) are fulfilled in 2015, switchover may nevertheless take place in 2019, even if criteria 4 and 5 are not fulfilled.

Source: Norwegian Media Authority