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DAB+ Digital Trials Extended in Australia

Canberra and Darwin DAB+ digital radio trials prolonged

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has extended the DAB+ digital radio trial licenses in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, and Darwin, Northern Territory, for an additional 12 months.

The licenses, which were first issued in 2010 and further extended in 2011, have once again been continued, says the Commercial Radio Authority, to allow for further field testing and continued coverage modeling to be used by the industry and ACMA in the planning of the DAB+ rollout to other regions.

According to the CRA, which has carried out both regional trials along with staff from the ACMA, the experiments have provided useful information, in particular for understanding the tradeoff between signal robustness and improved capacity, which it says, would allow the commercial stations to share a multiplex with the public broadcasters for the most cost-effective and efficient rollout to regional Australia.

“Another area we have been testing on the Canberra trial is the use of the DAB+ screen and text-based features for the distribution of emergency information during critical events such as flooding, cyclones, fires or traffic incidents,” said Joan Warner, CRA chief executive. “This type of testing will also be carried out in Darwin in the next 12 months.”

The CRA said that one area of the ongoing investigation is gauging the impact on the digital signal of extreme weather and groundwater and importantly to develop more information about the use of a single high-powered site with some repeaters, similar to the current FM model, in the rollout of DAB+ digital radio to regional Australia.