Norway will be the first country in the world to end FM radio entirely. As of January 2017, the country will transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which will become the standard adopted throughout the territory.
“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic content, and will enjoy better sound quality and new features,” explains Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey. “Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development.”
The Norwegian DAB has been available since 1995 and in 2007 an enhanced transmission version, the DAB +, was made available. Together, the standards currently offer 22 channels and the capacity for 20 more. FM, in turn, offers only 5. The transmission cost of the new format is also 8 times cheaper than that of FM.
According to the Ministry of Culture, it will be up to the radio stations to choose between DAB and DAB + in the broadcasts. Other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are also considering replacing FM with DAB, but no other country has confirmed the deadlines.