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Sweden: DAB Uphill Battle Continues

Public broadcasting services still question viability of the platform. Former DAB chief rejects the technology.

Two of Sweden’s three public broadcasting services —Sveriges Television and Utbildningsradion — see certain advantages to digital radio for the third service Sveriges Radio, but they remain skeptical regarding the financial and technical aspects of the technology as proposed in a government consultation.

UR believes that the basic development of digital radio must be market-driven, that DAB/DAB+ is not an obvious choice and that a technical transition should not be done at the expense of content. SVT meanwhile fears that the expenditure for parallel distribution during the transition for both public service and commercial radio may not be sustainable, and that because it shares the license fee income with SR, the cost of digitization could also affect SVT’s financial situation and program quality.

According to SVT, calculations made for the consultation seem to have been based on assumptions carried out by transmission firm Teracom, which, SVT says, would profit from the introduction of DAB in the country. Before establishing an analog switch-off date SVT judges that it would be wiser to wait for further technical developments, also in other countries.

Four years ago SVT proposed that digital radio be carried on DVB-T2. Conservative Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth (who still holds this position), supported this plan.

In other developments, Jan Danielsson, former Teracom managing director recently rejected DAB+ in a newspaper article, stating that it is too late to implement this technology and that it will not have a sufficient consumer base. He pointed to the tremendous uptake of mobile broadband.

— Christer Hederström