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Norway’s Culture Minister Asserts FM Sunset Will Occur as Planned, Despite Objections

Linda C. Hofstad-Helleland, provided a very long and detailed response as to why the changeover will proceed as anticipated

OSLO � In previous editions of Digital Radio Update we�vecovered the objectionsabout the impending sun-setting of Norway�s FM network, as raised by the Progress Party�s Ib Thomsen. Unmoved, Norway�s culture minister, Linda C. Hofstad-Helleland, provided avery long and detailed response as to why the changeover will proceed as anticipated.

This is from a translation, so I�ve added a word or two here and there to make it easier to read. I�ve selected some of what I feel are the important reasons, but you�re welcome to read theentire article, as reported by, here.

“There is…no basis for parliamentary representative’s assertion that Norway is alone in betting on DAB.� The main reason that Norway is the first is because the Norwegian topography with deep fjords, high mountains and scattered settlement pattern makes it particularly expensive to operate the Norwegian FM network. According to calculations, the additional costs to double distribution for the period 2017-2019 will be about 180 million…per year.�These costs could rise significantly for the period after 2019 as [the] FM network needs upgrading and it must enter into new transmission agreements. According to calculations that were made ??in 2011, the costs for necessary maintenance of FM network until 2031 could be as high as the cost to build out a nationwide DAB network with room for many more channels.�

�When it comes to allegations of poor DAB coverage, I refer to the National Communications Authority, [which] has concluded that population coverage inNRKDAB network is better than coverage P1 has [with its] FM network.

�From 2017 the all NRK 14 digital radio channels have equal coverage.�In DAB network therefore those who live in the sparsely populated parts of the country will no longer be [given a] short shrift with a single radio channel, but [rather will] enjoy NRK’s ??overall radio offerings. Nkom has also concluded that the population coverage to the commercial DAB network is better than the coverage of Radio Norway in FM network.�

�Also listeners are free to decide which digital radio technology they wish to use.�Internet Radio works such well in private homes.�In the car [it] can quickly become expensive to rely on mobile broadband and coverage is currently far inferior DAB network.�It is therefore advantageous for listeners that in addition to mobile broadband (there) exists a DAB network covering the whole country and where listeners do not have to pay to listen to the radio.�When it comes to the digitization of your fleet, according to surveys conducted by TNS Gallup 3 [in] 10 have DAB in the car.�Sixty percent of drivers who do not have DAB today stated that they will wait until FM network [is] extinguished [before] installing DAB radio.�This agrees well with the experiences from the digitalization of terrestrial television, where viewers waited until extinction before digital reception equipment was purchased.�