UK Consumers Group says a 2015 Analog Radio Sunset is "Far Too Early"

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The Consumer Experts Group, a committee operating within The UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, issued a report back on Sept. 14 dealing with Digital Radio adoption, and it has caught the attention of both British media and the public alike.

Written from an average citizen's perspective, the 66-page document, entitled, "Digital Radio Switchover: what is in it for consumers" makes sweeping recommendations that breaks with government's approach to DAB as framed in the Digital Britain Act.

Among the more significant report recommendations:

  • Any analog switch-off date should only be advanced when fewer than 30 percent of all Britons are still listening via analog signals -- considerably tighter than the 50 percent mark previously established by regulators.
  • A roadmap for transitioning to DAB+ ought to be adopted as part of the transition, and forward compatible chipsets ought to be required in all DAB receivers in the interim.
  • Metrics for DAB adoption should specify DAB receiver listening as opposed to the broader "digital radio listening" metric used in most recent report by telecom regulator Ofcom.
  • Coverage calculations ought to based on signal strengths that more accurately reflect both indoor and outdoor reception.

    The report also asserts that CEG ought to be involved in setting a minimum specification for digital radio and should also be directly involved with the development and design of a public education campaign regarding digital radio adoption.

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