Australia to use DAB+

Commercial radio broadcasters in Australia have announced they will adopt the new DAB+ standard for the implementation of digital radio. The new standard uses AAC technology to provide far better quality than the MPEG2 version, currently used as standard in the UK.

The Federal Government has set a date of 1 January 2009 for the launch of digital radio services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.

The DAB+ format is already the standard in some European countries, as adapted by the WorldDAB organisation last year. It incorporates the AAC/AAC+ audio codec which provides better audio quality than the current UK standard of MPEG Layer 2.

DAB+ services and receivers are expected to be rolled out in a number of countries where digital radio is currently in trial phase, which potentially includes the Netherlands, Malta, New Zealand, India and China.

The chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, said DAB+ would provide a better digital radio experience for listeners: “We have been very active in supporting the international development of DAB+ because it means Australia will be able to adopt the latest, most spectrum efficient technology in the world for the roll out of our digital radio services.”

DAB+ is two to three times more efficient than the original Eureka 147 standard which uses the MPEG Audio Layer II coding in use in the UK.

“DAB+ offers much more efficient compression, which means more stations can be broadcast on a multiplex, resulting in lower per station transmission costs,” Ms Warner said.

Ofcom recent said they have no plans to adobt the DAB+ format in the UK.

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