State-owned networking infrastructure operator Kordia is pushing ahead with its trial of DAB digital radio, despite signs similar efforts in the UK are faltering.
Channel 4 last week scrapped its plans to roll out DAB, leaving the BBC the main flagwaver for the technology in the UK market.
Kordia business manager Aaron Olphert says Channel 4 is in financial stress as the UK heads into recession and this is the main reason for the cancellation of its DAB plans.
“The first thing they’ll cut is a platform they haven’t invested in yet,” he says. “They are cutting back other services as well.”
Olphert says Australia is going ahead with its plans to go live in all capital cities next March, while Germany is rebuilding its DAB network with federal government funds. Malta also recently launched a network with 28 services, he says.
“We still firmly believe there’s a market opportunity with DAB to provide more content.”
He says Kordia is waiting on the Ministry of Economic Development to allocate commercial spectrum.
Designed in the 1980s, the DAB standard offers high-fidelity audio, accommodates more stations in the same spectrum and is less susceptible to interference than FM radio.
Kordia has added a second transmission site to its Auckland trial, creating an overlapping single frequency network, he says. Kordia now transmits from Waiatarua, in the Waitakere Ranges, and from the Sky Tower.
Olphert says there is now around 80% coverage in Auckland, but a commercial rollout would require an extra three sites and more powerful transmitters.
He says Kordia has no idea of the number of listeners using the service. Some have bought receivers and others have brought them in from overseas.
Kordia transmits nine stations on its trial: AltTV, BaseFM, BBC World, The Concert Programme, George FM, Mai FM, National Radio, Radio Tarana and TRN Hit Radio.