Norway will shut down FM radio in the country beginning in 2017, Radio.no reports. The Norwegian Ministry of Culture finalized a shift date this week, making it the first country to do away with FM radio entirely. The country plans to transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as a national standard.
A statement released this week by the Ministry of Culture confirms a switch-off date that was proposed by the Norwegian government back in 2011. The government has concluded that the country is capable of meeting all the requirements necessary for a smooth transition to digital.
FM is eight times more expensive than DAB
"Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio-content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality," Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in a statement. "Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development."
DAB currently offers 22 national channels as opposed to FM's five, and has the capacity to host almost 20 more. The cost of transmitting radio channels through FM is also eight times higher than the cost of DAB transmission, the ministry reports.
DAB has been available in Norway since 1995. DAB+, an updated form of DAB, was made available in 2007. According to the Ministry of Culture, it will be up to radio broadcasters to choose between DAB and DAB+ transmissions, although it is likely that by 2017, most broadcasting in the country will be in DAB+.
Several other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are also considering a national move to DAB, but no other country has confirmed a timeline, Radio.no reports.
Norway's FM shutdown will begin on January 11th, 2017.
Update, 5:01 PM ET: Updated to add context to the DAB update, DAB+.