On March 1st, Drive to Digital 2016: National Now marked the biggest launch of digital stations across the UK with the official switch-on of the second national DAB commercial network. In addition to the 18 new commercial radio stations, there’s been an expansion on existing DAB networks, both nationally and locally, to reach FM equivalent coverage.
The new network also brings with it the launch of the first DAB+ stations in the UK, Jazz FM, Fun Kids and Magic Chilled. DAB+ is widely used in countries around Europe and globally as it offers improved spectrum efficiency in comparison to DAB – allowing more radio stations for the same capacity or higher audio quality for the same capacity.
Radios that have the DAB tick mark are DAB+ compatible meaning they can receive the new DAB+ stations as well as being able to receive DAB stations.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, switched on the Sound Digital DAB network and showed full Government support for digital radio and the achievement of the coverage.
This follows the recent release of changes to the DAB tick mark requirements that will soon be extended to a European-wide specification. The main changes from the current specification are:
- All band III frequencies will be tested for sensitivity requirements – meaning 38 channels tested instead of 12;
- The DLS requirements have been expanded to include all European Latin-based characters; and
- There is now a requirement for radios using a starburst display to map the characters mentioned above in a specified way.
Previously it was not specified how starburst displays had to map special characters.
DTG are currently the only UKAS accredited and DRUK approved test facility in Europe for carrying out DAB tick mark testing, and can help with the transition to the extended specifications. For more information visit www.dtgtesting.com/content/dab-testing-1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DTG Staff | 03.03.2016