UK: La radio del futuro? DAB, FM e fine delle onde medie

Il Digital Radio Working Group del Dipartimento britannico per la cultura i media e lo sport ha raggiunto le sue conclusioni sul futuro a medio termine della radiofonia


da Radio Passioni

Il percorso più appropriato verso il digitale è rappresentato dal DAB e dalle sue varianti. Il DRWG prevede quindi un futuro prossimo in cui le stazioni DAB opereranno accanto all’FM, quest’ultima particolarmente indicata alle emittenti locali e associative, che eventualmente potranno essere aiutate finanziariamente a compiere la transizione verso il digitale. Per le onde medie non c’è semplicemente futuro, il suggerimento è di trasferire tutto su FM e DAB e allocare la banda a qualcos’altro (a che cosa? ai telecomandi dei garage?). Per le onde lunghe, paradossalmente, un futuro potrebbe esserci ma bisognerà vedere.
Tutto il resto sarà appannaggio dei servizi di distribuzione su IP. Sarebbe interessante capire se il DRWG ha preso in considerazione e accantonato i risultati delle prove DRM o se per caso ha preso visione di sistemi ibridi come HD Radio. L’atteggiamento di chiusura nei confronti delle onde medie non consente di stabilire se il no dipende da semplice incompletezza degli scenari presi in esame o da una attenta valutazione di tutti gli scenari possibili. Inutile dire che io non sono molto d’accordo sulle onde medie, che a mio modesto parere potrebbero continuare a svolgere un ruolo molto interessante in una offerta autenticamente multimediale (se è multimediale, perché dovrebbe per forza occupare tutta chilometri di larghezza di banda quando 9 miseri kilohertz analogici possono fornire un servizio locale eccellente?) mentre d’altro canto non vedo proprio a chi possa far gola l’eredità digitale di un megahertz di spettro. Ci mettiamo l’HSDPA su 1.200 kHz?
Altra conclusione: bisogna obbligare i costruttori di automobili a installare car radio DAB come standard. Geniale, vero?

Digital Radio Working Group sets out vision for digital future

A long term plan should be developed to move all radio services across to digital, according to the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG), in its interim report published today
However, in the medium term, the group recommends migrating all national, regional and large local stations to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), with FM continuing to be used by small local and community radio stations. Government should set out the conditions which must be met before this change could be achieved, and which would trigger migration. Fundamental to this will be an assessment of the extent to which listeners have adopted digital radio, particularly DAB, as well as levels of coverage.
The DRWG does not recommend setting a date for switchover to digital radio now. Instead, it recommends a timetable for migration is set out, which is dependent on progress against the agreed criteria. The group’s initial assessment is that migration could be completed by 2020.
Chairman of the DRWG Barry Cox said:
“At the end of May this year, sales of DAB sets exceeded seven million. We believe radio must have a digital future and that this will benefit both listeners and industry. Audiences will be able to enjoy increased functionality and more choice of channels, while the industry will no longer have to sustain the increased transmission costs of broadcasting on multiple platforms.
“If these benefits are to be achieved, then action must be taken to address the significant challenges which threaten the future growth of the market. There is a great deal to be done to address these issues, and I hope that this interim report will stimulate debate on how to achieve a digital future.”
The group, set up in November 2007, has been looking at the barriers to the growth of digital radio and the conditions needed to allow digital platforms to become the main means of delivering radio. As part of its work, four sub-groups were set up to consider issues such as the mechanisms for growth, technology, coverage and European harmonisation.
While listeners increasingly expect to be able to access radio services via a number of platforms and devices, this means a significant increase in costs for broadcasters, with little or no financial benefit in return. The DRWG believes that traditional radio business models will be unable to indefinitely support the increased transmission costs of broadcasting on both analogue and multiple digital platforms.
The report also identified gaps in coverage, and signal strength within covered areas as potential barriers to take up from listeners. For DAB to be a realistic replacement for analogue radio, the current reach of DAB networks to 90 per cent of the population must increase, as must the robustness of the signal. The group also notes that whilst considerable progress has already been made in identifying the key barriers to the take-up of digital radio by the automotive industry, a clear plan is needed to encourage car manufacturers to fit digital radio as standard.

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