Norway has become the first country to cease FM radio broadcasting.
The northern county of Nordland has stopped broadcasting using analogue frequencies Wednesday as the Government plans to roll out digital-only radio over the course of the year.
According to the national broadcaster, NRK, nationwide radio channels began switching to digital audio broadcasting that offers a wider range of broadcasting options and greater sound quality.
The head of Digitalradio Norge, a company owned by public broadcaster NRK has said the main reason behind this technological shift is to offer a better radio service to the whole population. The change is occurring county by county, starting with Nordland, in the north of Norway. Capital Oslo will turn off FM broadcasting in September, and the process will be completed nationwide by December.
Norway, has been preparing for the switchover for years – DAB and FM have existed side-by-side since 1995. There are currently 22 national digital stations, along with around 20 smaller ones. The FM spectrum has room for a maximum of only five national stations.
The move to “radio digitization” was decided by the Parliament in 2011, and a timetable was announced in 2015. Norway’s Culture Ministry estimated that it would save 25 million dollar a year. Part of the reason to switch away from traditional analogue transmission is to do with topography.
It is expensive to get FM signals to a small population scattered around a landscape riven with a long and high mountains.