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WorldDAB Details Technical State of Swiss DAB

New factsheet will help in testing aftermarket receivers ahead of 2024 FM shutoff

As Switzerland moves towards a shutoff of analog FM broadcasting by year-end 2024, WorldDAB released a factsheet outlining the current state and future path for digital radio in the country.

The factsheet is a product of WorldDAB’s Automotive Working Group, hybrid radio promoter RadioDNS, and the Swiss digital migration working group AG DigiMig. It is focused on information car manufacturers and aftermarket radio sellers need to understand about current DAB+ broadcasts in Switzerland, planned future developments, and expectations for what an in-car receiver will display on its screen.

WorldDAB stated that the factsheet will help DAB+ radio receiver manufacturers test their devices for use across Switzerland. Currently, all new cars in Switzerland are sold with DAB+ receivers, and an effort is underway to support DAB+ aftermarket devices for older vehicles.

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Robert Moro, strategic broadcast services manager at Swiss public-service broadcaster SRG SSR, stated: “We as broadcasters need to be as clear as possible what we are broadcasting on DAB+, so that car manufacturers in turn are sure that the screen in the car is populated with the correct radio content for the driver. To this end Switzerland is the first market to release a factsheet of this type – this clarity is something which will move both markets forward and strengthen our collaboration.” Moro chairs the WorldDAB Aftermarket Devices Group, which commissioned the factsheet.

The five-page factsheet details technical information the DAB ensembles operated by SRG SSR, SwissMediaCast AG, Romandie Médias SA, and digris AG. These range from national networks for the public service broadcaster; regional networks for Switzerland’s French-, German-, and Italian-language communities; and digris’s DAB “islands” in 17 locales across the country.

The factsheet outlines what content is provided across each ensemble, as well as the content-agnostic mechanisms and technical channels used to provide it.

In February 2022, during the Atelier Radiophonique Romand conference for the francophone Romandy region, Philippe Zahno from AG DigMig reported that, as of autumn 2021, about 47% of in-car listening was to DAB+ channels.

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office reports that nearly 4.7 million passenger cars were registered in the country as of 2021. While 99.7% of all new cars sold in Switzerland in 2021 were equipped with DAB+ radios as standard equipment, it is not clear how many older cars have been upgraded to receive DAB+.

According to WorldDAB, 99% of major roads in Switzerland, including all major tunnels, are covered by DAB+ signals.