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Budapest Gears up for MBT Conference

Digital radio and DAB+ developments to feature on the agenda

The author is project director for WorldDAB.

As May begins, the radio — and wider broadcasting — industry is turning its attention to Hungary, and the 2019 edition of the Meeting of Regional Broadcasting Organisations and Transmitting Equipment Manufacturers (MBT).

Bernie O’Neill

MBT bring together broadcasters, regulators, system integrators, distributors and other key for one Europe’s most important yearly events for the broadcasting industry. This year’s MBT conference is taking place in Budapest on May 22–24.

The event will focus on some of the challenges and opportunities associated with the changing landscape of the broadcasting industry and shifting consumer trends. In light of the latest developments across Europe — including the introduction of the European Electronics Communication Code (EECC) regulation that mandates digital terrestrial radio in new cars across the EU as of 2020 — digital radio and DAB+ are set to feature on the agenda.

WorldDAB president Patrick Hannon will be taking the stage on the opening day of the event. Speaking as part of the “Terrestrial Challenges” session held at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday May 23, he will give an overview of the development and rollout of DAB+ digital radio across Europe, with case studies and lessons learned from countries that either have, or are in the process of, completing a digital switchover — Norway and Switzerland respectively, with more countries on the horizon.

Patrick Hannon

Hannon will also give an update on the application of EU legislation on receiver interoperability by car manufacturers and by EU national administrations, with particular focus on the new EECC that requires all radios in new cars released in the EU from 2020 to be capable of receiving and reproducing digital terrestrial radio. He will also share updates on the organisation’s ongoing work with the automotive sector to ensure radio’s place in the connected car, provide details about the coordinated EU-wide approach on marketing and promoting of DAB+ to the consumer, and explain how WorldDAB can assist in launching of DAB+.

[Read: Overcoming DAB+ SFN Network Challenges]

This year’s MBT conference will also be marked by the first seminar organised by the WorldDAB Spectrum and Network Implementation Committee (SNIC). Launched in March 2019 in response to the accelerated rollout of DAB+ across Europe and beyond, the SNIC committee replaces the previous Regulation and Spectrum Committee, expanding its remit to include discussions, best practice and knowledge sharing regarding the implementation of DAB+ networks.

A key focus of the new committee is to hold seminars aimed at helping emerging and existing DAB+ markets carry out a successful deployment of DAB+ networks. The committee’s first seminar will take place in Budapest at 2:00–4:00 on Wednesday May 22 in parallel with the MBT Conference and in partnership with Broadcast Networks Europe — a Europe-wide association of terrestrial broadcast network operators.

The topic of this first seminar will be “Best practice for implementation of SFN networks,” with case studies from Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Poland.

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