Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has welcomed the decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to extend the DAB+ digital radio trial licences in Canberra and Darwin for a further 12 months and looks forward to exploring how these services might become permanent as suggested in the Communications Department’s recently released Digital Radio Report.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said: “The commercial radio industry is buoyed by the support from ACMA on the extension of the Darwin and Canberra trials, and the Communications Department for the announcement of the Digital Radio Planning Committee for Regional Australia. We’re working with our industry colleagues on the planning for the first committee meeting.”
Commercial Radio Australia is the trial licensee for Canberra and Darwin and applied for the licence renewal on behalf of the ABC, SBS and all commercial broadcasters. The trials began in 2010.
“The Canberra trial is a collaboration of commercial and public broadcasters and government agencies. It is a good test of a single shared multiplex model which is being considered for regional areas and important technical and operational knowledge has been gained,” said Warner.
Commercial radio stations 2CA, 2CC, Mix 106.3, 104.7, My Canberra, KIX Country, The Edge and Buddha, plus multicultural and multilingual stations SBS Radio 1 and SBS Radio 2, SBS Pop Asia and SBS Chill continue to broadcast on the low power DAB+ trial. ABC stations joined the trial in 2011 – 666 ABC Canberra, ABC Jazz, Radio National, Double J and ABC Grandstand are all adding to the choice of services available to Canberra audiences.
Hot 100 and Mix 104.9 and digital-only services KIX Country, Classic Rock Digital and Radio TAB will continue DAB+ trial services in Darwin. Canberra and Darwin DAB+ trials have been the first outside the metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
The DAB+ trial signal in both cities is at low power but tests have indicated coverage at low power has been able to extend to a large part of the Canberra and Darwin areas. A boost was required to retransmit the trial signal into Parliament House. This has provided additional testing opportunities for “in building” coverage in a challenging structure. The trial services continue to be subject to occasional interruptions and changes in power for ongoing technical testing.