Norway are beginning to make the digital radio switchover, as they begin to shut off their FM signal. That makes them the first country in the world to drop FM- and could mean that other countries soon follow suit.
Why are they making this move? It's actually been in the works for a long time. That's because DAB radio offers a much more stable signal than FM, as well as space for a wider range of stations. It is also much cheaper to operate than FM- so the government stands to save around £21 million a year as a result.
The Norwegian government began making plans for the switchover back in 2011, before setting out a clear timetable a few years later. To make sure everyone knows exactly when the project will begin, they have chosen a particularly memorable date and time for the first switchoff- 11:11 AM on the 11th of January.
For now, most of Norway can still receive FM broadcasts. Throughout the year, though, FM transmitters will be shut off one by one. Nordland, which lies in the north of the country, has already made the switch to digital-only. Most Norwegians won't be affected until September, when Oslo, the capital, turns off its FM transmitters. By the end of the year, the whole country will have made the digital radio switchover.
Will the UK also make the digital radio switchover?
Norway isn't the only country to have considered such a move. As more and more people make the switch to digital, the UK government has also weighed up making a digital switchover. However, they are yet to put any firm plans in place. Instead, officials have said that two things need to happen before they make similar steps to Norway. Firstly, digital radio listenership needs to reach at least 50% of total listeners- it's currently hovering somewhere around 45%. Secondly, at least 90% of the country needs to receive a reliable DAB signal.
Related: Top 10 Best DAB Radios of 2019