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Ofcom DAB switchover coverage planning proposals

Ofcom has recently published some details of how the DAB network can be improved to match the coverage of the current FM network.

Ofcom has recently published some details of how the DAB networ
published on UK Free TV

The proposals cover the most pressing needs for the DAB network:

  • provision of local radio DAB for those areas with no current coverage
  • coverage of both homes and in-car use
  • the addition of a new block (5A) that will allow the local radio blocks to expand to fill the "editorial" coverage areas to match the current FM areas
  • the use of 99%/99% DAB prediction for indoor home reception, and normal car use.


Of particular interest are:



Ofcom is asking for responses using this online form: Responding to the DAB Coverage Planning consultation by 5pm on 14 September 2011.

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Comments
Sunday, 3 July 2011
M
Mark
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

6:22 PM

I don't know why people are getting in a state about DAB v DAB+.

The multiplexes that Ofcom & Arqiva are proposing will all be able to transmit DAB+ (or a combination of DAB and DAB+), and Pure's new radios on sale in the UK are all DAB+ capable.

We can stick with DAB for now because of the legacy issue, and when the time is right in several years we can make the switch to DAB+ at no extra cost. It shouldn't prevent the rollout of further transmitters by the BBC or anyone else.

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Mark's 181 posts GB
M
michael
sentiment_satisfiedGold

6:51 PM

True, but many have already bought DAB radios that are not compatible with DAB+. Asking them
(and manufacturers) to throw these together with many FM/AM radios into landfill would be a bridge too far. Even ivory tower residents muse on this! One has one?s doubts as to whether community radio will keep FM radios purring in all corners of the realm.

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michael's 857 posts GB
S
Steve
sentiment_satisfiedGold

6:54 PM

According to our resident guru, R4 on FM will be switched off because BBC can't afford to keep FM txs going as well as Digital ones.

Am i REALLY supposed to believe that community boradcasters can affod it if BBC can't?

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Steve's 1,172 posts GB
M
Mark
sentiment_satisfiedSilver

7:20 PM

Steve: I think the idea is that community radio will use FM only after DSO, without bothering with DAB, because the multiplexes are too large for them to target particular communities.

Having said that there are some community stations on DAB, such as Voice in South Wales and Affinity in Cambridge.

The BBC and large commercial broadcasters are anxious to discontinue FM to avoid the extra costs caused by broadcasting on both DAB & FM. In addition to this, some of the BBC network FM aerials will need replacing sometime after 2020.

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Mark's 181 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

8:44 PM

@Mark

I think you are quite correct here the BBC policy is all about saving money. Unfortunatly the BBC underestimated the cost of DAB. To make things worst Local radio was to be transmitted from commercially funded multiplexes. Well that just ain't going to happen. So Ofcom is now running round like a headless chicken trying to find a solution.

To reach the sort of coverage that Ofcom is aiming for in this report will cost an enormous amount of money. Even if Ofcom do build this system it will be a white elephant as very few people will be using it. There is no way that the BBC are going to be able to turn off the National FM stations with millions of people still listening to FM.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
S
Steve
sentiment_satisfiedGold

10:50 PM

Mark - my point is that if it costs too much for the BBC to use FM; who else can afford it?

Or are we saying that it will ONLY be used for pirate radio scale operations? What a waste of spectrum.

Where I think the planners went wrong is not realising how many FM radios are inj use - most integrated into clock radios; ipods, radiograms, musicentres, CD players, cars, etc. etc. etc.

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Steve's 1,172 posts GB
Monday, 4 July 2011
M
michael
sentiment_satisfiedGold

9:32 AM

High-power AM and FM stations are far more expensive to run than DAB with equivalent coverage. But the cost of decommissioning
the old and establishing the new must also be factored in. Low-power FM transmitters for community (and pirate) operators are, however, budget-friendly. If many low-power FM transmitters sprout up, Ofcom will need to spend extra bucks to monitor them all! The switch-off of major FM networks would, indeed, seem to be receding in view of commercial, political, technical and budget problems - and listener preferences.

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michael's 857 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

10:40 AM

A national DAB station is much more expensive. These figures are for a coverage of 99% of the population. Ofcom have recently dropped the word population which could mean any thing.

Dab 99%

No of transmitters 1000
Multiplex running cost for 1 year £40M
Cost per annum per DAB station at 128kb/s £5,925,926

FM 99%

No of transmitters 230
Total transmision costs £10,209,00
Cost per network station £2,552,250

Cost per national FM station

The DAB figures are estimated based on the cost of 90% coverage in 2011. The FM costs are actual costs for 2009. The real killer here is the move from 90% to 99% for DAB. DAB has about 230 transmitters for 90% coverage but will need 1000 for 99%.

If Ofcom adopts its new standards as given in the paper the cost of DAB will rise even further.

For those interested for more detail just google

"bbc's efficient and effective use of the spectrum"

This was published in 2007 so is a little dated.


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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
M
michael
sentiment_satisfiedGold

10:56 AM

Interesting contrast! There are ... and then statistics! It all depends on the base-line and the difficulty of comparing like and unlike. It will certainly be expensive to set up and run the many additional DAB transmitters necessary for public satisfaction. Given the inglorious implementation of DSO in many areas, one might wonder how well the DAB promises (spelt : theoretical projections) will materialise. An intelligent compromise would seem indicated, but...

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michael's 857 posts GB
T
Trevor Harris
sentiment_satisfiedGold

11:59 AM

The BBC has another problem with DAB. It is a single frequency network and so coverage can be limited by self interference. In fact this is already a problem in some areas. The BBC has only made plans for up to 97% coverage and so we don't even know yet if DAB can extend it's coverage to 99%.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB
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