GatesAir Helps Norway's FM Transition To DAB Radio


NOR / USA: GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has shipped over 1,100 transmitters in support of the transition to DAB Radio by Norway's commercial and public broadcasters.

The final shipments over the coming weeks, will bring the total to 1218 transmitters deployed. The transition is completed just months after Norway's pioneering analogue FM Radio switch-off. The final national FM Radio signals - many local FM stations remain on the air - vacated the airwaves in mid-December, concluding an 11-month sunset that broadcasters worldwide have been closely watching.

The move to all-digital radio in Norway offers a blueprint for other countries considering FM switch-offs. Foremost, the spectrum efficiencies of DAB Radio have initially expanded listener options from a single FM station - Lyden av Norge - to 15 unique, high-quality digital radio channels that appeal to different audiences and age groups. That multichannel capability will open new revenue opportunities, including advertising and other promotional initiatives across different channels. The transition has also improved audio quality and coverage across approximately 320,000 square kilometres of wildly diverse geographical terrain.

The move to DAB Radio will also significantly lower operational costs by up to eight times the operational costs of FM Radio. That savings will be further amplified after the network migrates content distribution to EDI, a highly efficient IP-based protocol supported both by GatesAir and within the DAB Radio standard.

GatesAir has been involved in Norway's DAB Radio activity since the nation's first tests in 1994. Upon the Norwegian government's 2011 approval to switch off FM radio, GatesAir helped to accelerate the site planning and systems design process, and worked closely with partners to set a site-by-site delivery schedule. A pair of redundant GatesAir Maxiva VAX air-cooled transmitters ranging from 50 Watts to 5 kW support over-the-air content delivery from most sites. Upon the delivery of the final transmitters, which includes low-power models, GatesAir will officially be the exclusive transmitter supplier for the world's most extensive digital radio network.

"Our work in Norway has spanned over two decades to ensure that the exacting specifications of the network and delivery timelines were met in accordance with the Norwegian government's mandate," said Darren Frearson, Vice President of Sales, EMEA-APAC, GatesAir. "GatesAir's modular transmitters were easily configured and rapidly deployed across the network. The compact footprint and small weight contributed to the rapid deployment which reached as many as 14 sites per week. We are thrilled to support such a groundbreaking and large-scale digital radio project that will serve as a time and cost-efficient model for many future projects of a similar nature, and also brings many new opportunities to the broadcasters and listeners of Norway."

The common platform and modular design of Maxiva VAX transmitters will allow engineers to manage a small inventory of common spare parts across all transmitters, regardless of power level. This enables a streamlined maintenance strategy that delivers another operational cost savings to the network operator and the radio stations on the DAB network. Furthermore, the high-efficiency, solid-state designs of Maxiva VAX transmitters will reduce energy consumption and utility costs across the network.

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