Government commits to 2015 DAB switchover

The digital radio switchover has been a major source of dispute ever considering that the government first announced its intentions to pull the plug on analogue bandwidths in the digital economy Act of 2010.
Opponents argue that digital quality isn’t as good as that of FM, and that the step would needlessly make 100 million perfectly good radios obsolete overnight. They also say that the DAB format favoured by the government is already out of date, with DAB+ supplying better quality.
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The prospect of the conversion has been additionally put in doubt by the poor uptake rate for digital radio. The government has set three targets that have to be met before FM is switched off: half of all radio listening has to be on a digital platform, digital coverage has to match FM’s (97 per cent of the country) and local digital radio has to reach 90 per cent of the UK.
However, the current statistics from digital Radio UK show that only 33 per cent of radio listening is digital. national BBC coverage is 94.5 per cent, but national commercial stations only reach 85 per cent of the country and local DAB services just 70 per cent.
So will the transition go ahead? As recently as last November, newspaper headlines were predicting that the 2015 deadline would at the very least have to be delayed, possibly by lots of years.

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