A partire dal primo gennaio 2009 le grandi aree metropolitane assisteranno a un primo massiccio dispiegamento della tecnologia DAB ultima versione, quella con codec AAC+ e utilizzazione dello spettro ottimizzata. A essere molto soddisfatta è l’associazione delle radio commerciali australiane, Commercial Radio Australia, che alla radio digitale dedica una newsletter trimestrale. Questa invece è l’opinione che l’emittente pubblica ABC era stata chiamata a esprimere nel corso delle consultazioni sulla legge appena approvata. Altre relazioni e documenti sono disponibili sul sito della commissione senatoriale che ha gestito l’iter della normativa. Tutti i testi dibattuti e i verbali della discussione si trovano sul sito del Parlamento.
Un punto su cui non ho ancora le idee chiare è l’atteggiamento che verrà adottato nei confronti della radio analogica. Il roll-out prevede anche un calendario di phase-out? Alla fine del comunicato di Commercial Radio Australia c’è una frase che lascerebbe intuire il contrario: «Contrary to the government’s position […] the industry considered digital radio a replacement technology for analogue broadcasting over time and not a supplementary technology.» Da quello che leggo su The Australian sono state espresse delle preoccupazioni in merito alla copertura del segnale nelle aree rurali (e in Australia un’area rurale è a dir poco r-u-r-a-l-e. Con la U maiuscola, come direbbe Totò: al punto che ci sono ancora stazioni in onde corte nei 120 metri). Il che farebbe invece pensare a una graduale sostituzione degli impianti analogici.
Canberra green light for digital radio roll out
LEGISLATION to roll-out digital radio across Australia has passed parliament, despite concerns listeners in rural communities might miss out.
The law allows for digital radio to be rolled out in the state capitals by January 1, 2009, and covers the licensing, planning and regulation of the new generation of radio.
The first services will use the European Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard, the most widely used system internationally and for which a wide range of reasonably priced receivers is available. But Labor expressed concerns about the digital platform’s ability to reach rural areas. Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy quoted the government’s own regulation impact statement during debate in the senate today. “DAB is unlikely to be a suitable platform to address the extended coverage requirements of some regional and remote services in Australia,” Senator Conroy said.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan admitted there might be some teething problems for regional areas. “The platform may not be able to replicate the extensive broadcast coverage of some AM services, and consideration will need to be given to whether other technologies … are better placed to address the audience needs of some regional areas,” Senator Coonan told parliament today. But she said rural listeners wouldn’t miss out. “Listeners outside the state capitals have not and will not be overlooked. The legislation will enable the commencement of DAB digital radio services in regional markets, dependant on the interest of relevant broadcasters in providing services.” A statutory review of technologies for the transmission of digital radio broadcasting services in rural areas will be held by January 1, 2011.
Senator Coonan said digitisation was transforming all media, and radio was the last significant broadcasting platform to remain analogue-only. She said digitisation was supported by the radio industry. “They dont want to be left behind, they want to get on with it,” she said. Funding has been allocated in the 2007 budget to help the ABC and SBS go digital, and $10.5 million has been allocated for community radio broadcasters. Digital radio will allow broadcasters to deliver new services such as playlist information and news and weather updates. The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Radio) Bill 2007 passed the senate without amendments.
Ed ecco il comunicato dell’associazione delle stazioni commerciali:
10-May-07 INDUSTRY WELCOMES PASSING OF DIGITAL RADIO BILL
Australians will be able to enjoy one of the best digital radio services in the world following the passing of legislation in Federal Parliament today allowing for digital radio to be rolled out in the state capitals by 1 January 2009. Digital radio ushers in a new era for radio and for the 95 percent of Australians who listen to radio every week,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of peak industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which represents 98 percent of commercial radio stations.
“The passing of the legislation means consumers will get vastly superior radio services sooner rather than later and it gives industry the certainty it needs to move ahead on the massive investment in broadcasting infrastructure that will be required.” Ms Warner said while the legislation covered the licensing, planning and regulation for digital radio initially in the six cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, regional and rural Australia would not miss out. “There are around 220 commercial radio stations who play a very important role in the lives of listeners in regional and rural Australia, and it’s important that they share in the benefits that digital technology will bring,” she said.
“The industry has already started reviewing the needs of some regional licence areas. The metropolitan roll out will allow us to realistically cost the regional rollout and we will be approaching the government for assistance to help regional commercial broadcasters with the costs of digital infrastructure.” Digital radio will provide listeners with more choice, crystal clear sound and many new features free to air. Because digital technology is so much more spectrum efficient than analogue, radio stations will be able to broadcast extra digital-only channels as well as data and images such as CD covers, weather and traffic maps and news images. Ms Warner said the Act reflected the industry’s key policy requests and the vital role commercial broadcasters would play in the roll out and success of digital radio. “The industry appreciates the level of consultation we had with the Prime Minister and the Minister on this important area as well as the support of many Government MPs in helping to negotiate a workable set of policy settings.”
However, she said the industry was still seeking clarification on a number of aspects of the Act. These include a statutory review of the six-year moratorium period for new entrants depending on take-up levels after five years, restrictions on the allocation of new analogue commercial radio licences and broadening of allowable digital program content from “still visual images” to moving visual images such as dynamic text, animations and short burst video, which would encourage take-up. “We understood from the Minister’s policy announcement that there would be no restrictions placed on broadcasters’ use of spectrum,” Ms Warner said. “We will continue to work with the Government as the Act is implemented to ensure that the policy settings agreed between the industry and the Government come to fruition.” Contrary to the government’s position, she said the industry considered digital radio a replacement technology for analogue broadcasting over time and not a supplementary technology.