KRRiT to expand its digital radio services with local broadcasting stations. Tender procedures for frequencies to take place in the second half of 2018.

2018-05-10  |  06:00
Says:Witold Kołodziejski
Function:Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT)cy Krajowej Rady Radiofonii i Telewizji
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  • The National Broadcasting Council is still interested in going digital with the radio. Currently, it is working on a strategy to expand its services and launch new radio stations, with special focus on local commercial ones. The available frequencies for local, urban multiplexes in 34 towns and cities are to be announced in the second half of 2018.

    “Contrary to the questions and doubts raised, KRRiT has not abandoned its plans to go digital with the radio. We will continue DAB+ financing for the public radio, while also developing a new strategy to launch new radio stations,” Witold Kołodziejski, Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) told Newseria Biznes.

    Digitisation of radio broadcasting in Poland is one of KRRiT’s strategic goals to be achieved by 2022. The process will end with the analogue signal’s being ultimately switched off, as was the case with television. From July 2016, the financial support for DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting, a new digital radio standard for broadcasting digital audio radio services) was increased, and in February 2017 the Council launched its informational campaign “Radio się przeprowadza (The Radio is Moving)”.

    Exactly a year ago, in the spring of 2017, the listening figures for the digital radio (DAB+ and online radio) reached 57 percent, while the use of VHF receivers dropped by 43 percent. The radio industry became actively involved in the process – now as many as 56 out of 57 radio stations, both private and public, available within VHF bands, can be listened to in DAB+.

    “It’s not enough to just copy the previous programmes to the digital bands, so we want to offer something new. I believe that a big advantage of DAB+ is sound quality. This is certainly something all music lovers will appreciate. The Polish Radio is already using this standard. We also intend to invite commercial broadcasting stations to cooperate. We need especially local stations,” Witold Kołodziejski announced.

    KRRiT has already requested the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) to allocate new frequencies to be distributed between local digital broadcasting stations.

    “We have 34 towns and cities with 47 frequencies allocated specifically for local broadcasting and we want to launch this as fast as possible. We’ll see how many parties will be interested. The next step is the launch of the regional/national multiplex. We’re hoping that, over time, as was the case with our neighbours, the market will become more saturated with digital receivers, because this is becoming a standard nowadays,” the Chairman said.

    The Ministry of Digitisation has announced that this year it would prepare a draft resolution to specify minimum technical and operating requirements for DAB+ receivers to be sold on the Polish market. Digital radio can be listened to in Poland only using receivers with this system, but you can also buy devices with DAB, an older generation system, which does not allow users to take full advantage of the digital radio services.

    “In May, we will make some final international arrangements for the new frequencies. Then, in the second half of the year, we will be ready to announce the available frequencies for local, urban multiplexes in 34 towns and cities. So virtually all Poland will be covered by the multiplexes,” Witold Kołodziejski announced.

    A survey carried out by Gfk Polonia at the request of KRRiT has shown that between 2013 and 2016, the sale of DAB+ receivers grew from 3 to more than 42,000 devices.

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