Thanks to a new effort by telecom infrastructure company Ibertel, DAB+ is getting a jump start in Spain.
After the initial roll out of digital radio in Spain in the late 1990s, the technology has largely stalled with DAB on the air in only a few markets. In recent years, however, the calls to implement DAB+ in the country have grown louder.
In response, the Hola DAB project has quietly been moving forward to put in place the infrastructure needed to bring DAB+ to the whole of Spain.
In a post to its Facebook page, Ibertel stated, “This initiative arises as a technical response to the absolute passivity of the Administration in promoting digital radio in Spain, contrary to what happened with digital terrestrial television.”
The initial phase of Hola DAB aims deploy DAB+ networks in 18 provinces across Spain, and then gradually growing to reach 95% of the Spanish population. Ibertel currently provides transmission services from 600 sites across Spanish territory.
The 18 provinces in the initial launch are Albacete, Asturias, Burgos, Córdoba, Granada, Guadalajara, Las Palmas, Madrid, Málaga, Mallorca, Murcia, Pamplona, Sevilla, Tenerife, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo, and Zaragoza. A specific timeline for the rollout was not announced, but in responses to questions on its Facebook post, Ibertel indicated that the first phase of the rollout would be completed by summer with a second wave going on air in autumn.
Despite being widely used elsewhere in Europe, Spain has not officially authorized the use of DAB+ in the country. Despite this, some stations — notably the Catholic religious station Radio María — are transmitting a DAB+ signal on the existing Madrid and Barcelona multiplexes. Local DAB+ multiplexes also launched in 2021 in Ibiza and in the Canary Islands.
Ibertel is listed as a partner of the Digi-Can effort in the Canary Islands, which reportedly is carry 18 programs on two DAB+ multiplexes on the island of Tenerife. According to the Wohnort DAB Ensembles Worldwide directory, an additional multiplex operates on Tenerife, along with two multiplexes on the island of Gran Canaria.