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DAB+ Development Resumes in Poland

Country devises scheme aimed at boosting DAB+ expansion nationwide

The author is project director for WorldDAB.

Bernie O’Neill

Today, there are more than 25 DAB+ audio services available to listeners in Poland, eight of which are exclusively available on DAB+ digital radio. That said, much of the radio landscape in the country has remained unchanged, and despite a number of stations launching on DAB+ in recent years, the geographical share of DAB+ in the country is the same as it was when it first launched just under five years ago.

However, as confirmed by KRRiT [the National Broadcasting Council of Poland] at the WorldDAB General Assembly 2019 at the start of November, all this is about to change as Poland prepares to resume the development of its DAB+ network over the next few years.

Poland’s (national and regional) public broadcasters are currently operating the only multiplex in the country, but as revealed at WorldDAB’s flagship event in Brussels earlier this month, a new, three-step expansion plan is set to start in October 2020 and conclude in October 2022.

As part of this plan, which for the most part will focus on highways and other main roads, population coverage is set to reach 68.2% by the end of the first, 77% by October 2021 and over 81% by the end of the third phase, in October 2022.

Speaking at the General Assembly, KRRiT strategy expert Krystyna Kuhn touched on KRRiT’s five-year regulatory strategy for the period leading up to 2022, pointing to the growth of DAB+ and the launch of two new multiplexes as one of the key priorities for the National Broadcasting Council of Poland.

DAB+ digital radio first launched in Poland in 2013, with two transmitters going into operation in Warsaw and Katowice — two the most populated agglomerations in Poland — and covering over 17% of population.

In October 2015, Poland’s DAB+ network included 24 transmitters in 17 locations across the country, covering over half (55.5%) of Poland’s population and a third of its territory, and it now seems the Polish radio industry is ready to take another step forward towards digitisation.

November also saw the first licences for regular transmissions on local multiplexes being granted for the cities of Warsaw, Katowice, Poznań, Rzeszów, Częstochowa, Toruń and Tarnów.

And despite an apparent lack of DAB+ marketing campaigns, the new international DAB+ logo is increasingly being used by key stakeholders in Poland, while the number of receiver sold in the country continues to grow — there are now over 100.000 DAB+ receivers in the market, excluding devices sold over the internet.