BBC reported that Norway became the first country that is going to switch off FM radio signals as they aim to use digital audio broadcasting (DAB) only by the end of the year. This effort to replace traditional radio started recently because there are many benefits to using exclusively DAB.
Norway has had issues with poor FM signals due to the mountainous terrain. DAB signals can provide a higher quality for them, and also be more cost-effective than FM signals. This is the reason why up to 70 percent of Norway’s population already uses digital audio due to the clarity and convenience of DAB.
Although the benefits are numerous and obvious, there are concerns about how much this switch of technology will cost. For example, according to BBC, it might cost $500 to upgrade car radios to DAB-compatible units, and the people who reportedly can’t afford this switch are worried that they will have no radio signal in their cars. The Guardian reports that there are 2.3 million car users in Norway that don’t have DAB sets.
"Norway is not prepared for this. There are millions of radios in homes, cottages and boats that won't work anymore and only around 25% of cars in Norway have digital radios or adapters," Svein Larsen of the Norwegian Local Radio Association told the BBC.
Regardless of this, there’s an increasing amount of countries that are considering going digital: The United Kingdom and Switzerland, among others. 30 percent of the population has DAB access in the UK, and when that number reaches 50 percent, the transition from FM to DAB may begin.