The Norwegian government said it has decided to switch off all of Norway’s frequency modulation (FM) radio stations in 2017, following the radio digitisation mandate issued by parliament in 2011. Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said the FM system only had space for five national channels, but DAB offers 22, and there is capacity for almost 20 more. More than half the population already has access to local radio on DAB, and there is potential for more local channels, she said.

The cost of transmitting national radio channels through the FM network is eight times higher than with DAB and P4, Radio Norge and NRK are currently spending large sums on parallel distribution. Digitalising radio will realise savings of more than NOK 200 million a year, releasing funds for investment in content.

DAB also offers clear advantages over FM in terms of emergency preparedness. DAB is far less vulnerable to transmitter failure in extreme conditions and it alsopermits tunnel reception of all channels. DAB allows simultaneous transmission of emergency messages on all channels, too.