Commercial radio stations 2CA, 2CC, Mix 106.3, 104.7 Hit Music, plus multicultural and multilingual stations SBS Radio 1 and SBS Radio 2 began DAB+ digital radio trial services today.
In addition, Canberra listeners can now hear for the first time four extra commercial digital only radio services – Radar Radio, Classic Hits Plus, my Canberra Digital and Hot Country Canberra Digital. An additional two digital only stations SBS Pop Asia and SBS Chill will also begin at the end of the month.
The DAB+ trial is the first outside the metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive, Joan Warner said the first trial of DAB+ outside of the five state metropolitan capitals is the next step in making digital radio services available to all Australians.
“The Canberra trial will provide valuable experience for regional radio broadcasters in working with the DAB+ signal, equipment and functionality, while we as an industry continue to work with the Government on a public commitment to prioritise the allocation of enough spectrum for the rollout of digital radio throughout the rest of Australia.”
Although the DAB+ signal is at low power for the trial it is already expected to cover a large part of the Canberra area. The second phase of the Canberra trial expected to begin by September will be the transmission of the test signal directly into Parliament House.
“Transmitting the DAB+ trial signal into Parliament House will allow us to identify any challenges that buildings of this type may present to the DAB+ signal and at the same time provide a real example of the benefits of digital radio services to all MPs and Senators,” said Ms Warner.
SBS Managing Director, Shaun Brown said: “SBS radio is initially broadcasting our additional in-language services, SBS Radio 1 and SBS Radio 2 and in the next few weeks Canberra listeners will be able to hear our trial digital only stations SBS Pop Asia and SBS Chill.”
“Capital Radio, ARN and Austero will broadcast four additional digital only services and we are confident that should the ABC be able to find funding to join the trial, we should be able to accommodate them,” said Ms Warner.
The trial services may be subject to interruptions and changes in power over the first few weeks as technical aspects of the new transmission are tested.
Key partners in the Canberra trial include; broadcast transmission infrastructure company Broadcast Australia, and multiplex infrastructure providers and systems integrators UGL Infrastructure/Radioscape as well as more than 20 digital radio receiver manufacturers.
Leading retailers, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and the Good Guys will be supporting the digital radio trial in Canberra by stocking DAB+ radios to allow Canberra listeners to sample the new services but consumers will need to be made aware that until the Government commits to making provision for DAB+ digital outside of the five major cities, these services are trial services.
Digital radio is broadcast free to air. To listen all that is needed is a new DAB+ digital radio. From next week, listeners in Canberra can check if it is predicted that they will receive digital radio, by logging on to the website digitalradioplus.com.au
and typing in their work or home postcode. Alternatively, listeners can SMS their postcode to the mobile phone number 0409DRPLUS (0409 377 587).
A DAB+ trial in Darwin will be announced shortly and two other areas currently being considered are Townsville and Hobart.
Media contact - Melissa Fleming - 0417 499 529