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DAB+ Up and Running Down Under, but Consumer Uptake May Lag
Articles appearing in Australian media suggest the first phase of that country's rollout of digital radio has passed a key milestone, but a recent poll suggests that consumers are in no rush to purchase radios, largely because of price points above $150 (Au).
According to a psnews.com article, public broadcaster Australia Broadcasting Corp (ABC) has finally completed the job of getting programming up on the five DAB+ multiplexes now operating in the metropolitan areas of to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Although the planned launch originally called for both ABC and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) to launch together on May 31, technical issues spread out the process over June and early July.
Even so, ABC Director Kate Dundas reportedly said her network is now ready to offer simulcasts of existing ABC Radio services as well as its new ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country channels via each of the new multiplexes.
How soon the average Aussie will be able to listen to those programs may depend on how quickly receiver prices come down, though. A July 7 report published by news.com.au suggests that while 77 percent of those Australians questioned said they were likely to try digital radio, 67 percent indicted they wouldn't be willing to pay more than $150 for a new receiver. Currently, the cheapest DAB+ receivers available there are $150 and up.
The news.com.au report went on to quote CRA CEO Joan Warner saying she believes it could take several years for digital radio to gain its footing, as her countrymen gradually replace analog receivers and rural listeners gain access to digital signals.
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