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RTBF’s Finet Describes Belgium’s Plans for Digital Radio

A recent interview with Laurent Finet gives further insight in to what is planned there

BRUSSELS�We�ve covered the news on DAB+ in France and other countries in Europe�but there has been little to say about France�s neighbor to the north � Belgium.�A recent interview with Laurent Finet, director of production and innovation of digital radio � RTBF, gives us some further insight in to what is planned there.

�The main advantage is that this format (digital radio transmission) will allow radio to remain free in opposition to Internet radio.�Indeed, listening to radio 1 hour per day via the internet, the user consumes more than one gigabyte of data, at a cost to the listener�s plan,� said Finet. �None of this with (happens with) DAB +, which will remain available free of charge, as is FM today.�

Finet also indicated that many more channels will be available across Belgium.� �For now the FM band limits the number of radio stations…to 15 or up to 20…terrestrial digital radio will offer the possibility (for) 35 radio stations to be accessible from anywhere in Belgium,� he said.�

Finet was asked about the eventual end of FM in Belgium.� �…we do not talk (about that yet) in Belgium.�The FM frequencies will be cut in the future, but no timetable has yet been established,� he said.� He also estimated that there would be fifteen years of �cohabitation between digital radio and FM� meaning that simulcasts of programs on both DAB and FM will continue that long.�

Interestingly, Finet was asked �is this is not going cause (RTBF) to (transmit) additional harmful waves?� His response: �No, because the entirety of Belgium will be covered by 30 transmitters,��he said. �Now, FM currently requires that each radio station has its own arsenal of transmitters to cover the territory.�So there will be significantly less electromagnetic waves than now.�