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Coverage conditions for FM switch-off fulfilled in Norway

The Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom) has performed coverage measurements and calculations of the DAB networks in Norway. The conclusion is that the coverage conditions set out for FM switch-off are met.

Nkom has summarised the coverage calculations and measurements in a separate report that presents each of the switch-off conditions and the corresponding measurement results. The work is related to the conditions for FM switch-off, as defined in the Report no. 8 to the Storting (2010–2011) on the digitalisation of the Radio. There, the following coverage conditions are given:

  1. Digital coverage for the NRK’s radio services must correspond to that of NRK P1 on FM
  2. The multiplexes that carry commercial radio services must together cover at least 90 per cent of the population

Based on the calculations and measurements, Nkom concludes that both switch-off conditions regarding coverage are fulfilled.

The report was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, asking Nkom to perform coverage calculations of the DAB networks, in order to determine if the coverage conditions are met.

The Ministry of Culture specified that Nkom´s considerations should be based upon the following criteria:

  • Calculation of P1 coverage on the FM network should be in accordance with the international agreement GE84 and for stereo FM reception.
  • Regarding the coverage calculations for the commercial DAB networks, Nkom should take into consideration the coverage offered by the multiplexes named Riksblokk 1 (National Multiplex 1), Riksblokk 2 (National Multiplex 2) and Lokalradioblokka (Community Radio Multiplex).
  • Road coverage for the DAB network should be at least as good as for the FM network (stereo).
  • No specific requirements regarding geographical coverage.

Nkom's conclusions

Switch-off condition no. 1: Digital coverage for the NRK’s radio services must correspond to that of NRK P1 on FM

  • Nkom regards switch-off condition no. 1 as met

The conclusion is based on measurements and calculations. The result of Nkom's overall assessment gives a population coverage for NRK's DAB network of approximately 99.5%, and population coverage for P1 FM stereo of approximately 98.6%.

Nkom's calculations show that NRK's DAB network has slightly better road coverage than the road coverage for P1 FM stereo.

Based on this Nkom concludes that NRK's radio service has a digital coverage that is at least equivalent to P1's current stereo coverage in the FM network.


Switch- off condition no. 2: The multiplexes that carry commercial radio services must together cover at least 90 per cent of the population

  • Nkom regards switch-off condition no. 2 as met

The conclusion is based on Nkom's assessment that National Multiplex 1 (Riksblokk 1) has population coverage of approximately 92.8%. Nkom concludes with this that the commercial DAB networks together have population coverage of at least 90%.

"Given that the other switch-off conditions are fulfilled, it seems to me that Norway is ready to switch off the FM band," says Torstein Olsen, Director General of the Norwegian Communications Authority. "The vast majority of the population now has access to digital radio, and it is time to introduce modern technology for this medium too, as we did for terrestrial television in 2009. With this I presume that the operators find good solutions for the vast majority of households," he adds.

Norway has become a forerunner in the digitization of radio, not only in Europe but also worldwide. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) recently published a report with guidelines on how to successfully launch digital radio. In the report Norway is chosen as one of three countries that EBU believes other countries can learn from.