The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced they’re extending the trial of digital radio in Canberra to July 2012:
The trials, using VHF Band III spectrum and DAB+ digital radio technology, are being conducted by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
Permanent digital radio services using DAB+ technology have been operating in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney since 1 July 2009. The rollout of digital radio services to the rest of Australia is dependent on certain policy and technological decisions that are still to be made by the federal government.
‘The ACMA remains committed to facilitating trials of new broadcasting technologies and is pleased to assist with the trialling of digital radio in these two cities,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘The extension of the current digital radio trials will also allow further testing of DAB+ digital radio technology in regional areas. The findings from the trials are expected to be valuable in the development of the Australian Government’s regional digital radio policy.’
The trials have been conducted on an ongoing basis since July 2010, authorised under the ACMA’s policy for facilitating technical trials and the testing of new radiocommunications technologies.
‘It is important to note, however, that trial licences confer no longer-term rights over the spectrum in question,’ Mr Chapman added.
The Minister is currently considering a range of broader issues associated with a regional roll-out of digital radio, however it is likely that any government policy for regional digital radio will result in some combination of DAB+ services being provided in these markets in the long-term,
While in general the ACMA limits trials to a maximum duration of 12 months, it determined that the strong likelihood permanent DAB+ digital radio services will eventually be extended to regional Australia constituted ‘special circumstances’ warranting an exception to the rule.