Norway goes Digital, eliminates FM radio

Garrett Wollman
Wed Jan 11 22:12:42 EST 2017

<<On Thu, 12 Jan 2017 01:45:37 +0000, Michael Wilkins <> said:

> What is the future of FM here in the states?

There is nothing coming down the pike, regulatory-wise, to replace
it.  The band will keep on getting packed with more and more stations
(and more and more unlikely directional patterns) to get the maximum
analog coverage until it becomes uneconomical.

If it's not gone completely by mid-century, it will have happened only
because that spectrum just isn't that valuable for any of the possible
competing uses.

In countries that have successfully transitioned radio to digital, a
few factors apply:

1) Stations licensed on a national basis with a universal-service

2) A small number of broadcasters dominating the media landscape,
including state-owned broadcasters.

3) A sufficient amount of favorable spectrum available to allow a
out-of-band digital service.

4) A regulatory policy that favors signal parity over competitive
advantage between broadcasters serving a particular area.

5) A regulatory policy that separates transmitter ownership and
operation from programming.

Canada tried to implement Eureka 147 a decade and a half ago, with
little success: none of these factors weighed in favor.  They were
closest on (4) and (5) but Canadian regulation is much more about
preserving the economics of incumbent broadcasters, with whatever
signal constraints they may have, rather than equality, and while they
do have separate licensing bodies for transmitters (Industry Canada)
and programming (the CRTC), the two licenses have to be held by the
same operator.

In the UK, where all of those factors do pertain, the DAB
implementation went much better -- although unlike Norway they haven't
yet killed off analog broadcasting entirely.


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