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Arriving soon: Thailand tunes in to digital radio

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital audio broadcasting? DAB+? Thailand? digital radio?

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is looking to make the switch to digital audio broadcasting (DAB) as it mulls the future for Thailand's digital radio, reported Bangkok Post.

The newer version of DAB, DAB+, has been available in the Asia Pacific since 2009. DAB+ receivers have a 16 per cent penetration rate in the region, with about 1.4 million units sold. Born in the 1990s, the older version has wider penetration rate at 46 per cent, or 17.5 million DAB-enabled receivers.

An International Telecommunications Union study said DAB+ is a practical choice for Thailand, especially since receivers equipping the technology are available at lower prices, ranging from $30 to $590 per unit.

Thailand will reserve the 174MHz and 230MHz frequencies (VHF Band III) currently deployed for TV broadcasts for digital radio. It outlined a roadmap, which covers short- and long-term plans, Plan A and Plan B respectively.

Plan A includes the preparation and assigning of regular licences. Up to 50 trial services targeting 40 per cent of the Thai population are slated for launch in 10 cities by the year-end.

The long-term plan involves provision of additional 36 to 72 services in 39 local areas, with the aim of 95 per cent coverage using four networks. The services will be deployed where the digital terrestrial TV sites are in order to keep infrastructure costs to a minimum. Regular licensing will carried out upon the analogue switch-off of VHF Band III.

NBTC has yet to give its approval on the digital radio plan. Meanwhile, it is evaluating the frequency value in preparation for commercial radio station auctions.

Thailand's digital radio regulatory regime will comprise facility, network and service providers.

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