The Norwegian Ministry of Culture has finalized a transition date from Frequency Modulation (FM) radio to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio. They will thus become the first country in the world to switch completely from FM radio.

Image via QRZ Now.

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations that started as a research project in Europe in the 1980s. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) launched the very first DAB channel in the world on 1 June 1995 (NRK Klassisk), and the BBC and SR launched their first DAB digital radio broadcasts in September 1995. DAB receivers have been available in many countries since the end of the 1990s.

DAB offers a range of advantages over FM. First of all, it’s much cheaper to broadcast – eight times cheaper. But that’s not even half of it. DAB may offer more radio programmes over a specific spectrum than analogue FM radio. DAB is more robust with regard to noise and multipath fading for mobile listening. DAB radios also automatically tune to all the available stations, offering a list for the user to select from.

“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio-content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality,” Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in a statement. “Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development.”

Trygve Rønningen , CEO and editor in chief of P4, Norway’s leading national, private radio station, said:

“We can finally complete the work that has been on-going for many years. This is the best solution for all listeners throughout Norway, as they now have a better radio.”

Switch-off starts in Nordland county 11th January 2017 and ends with the northernmost counties Troms and Finnmark 13.12 2017.