Motor industry quizzed about digital radio in House of Lords

24 February 2010 #SMMT News

The House of Lords Communications Committee today questioned SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt on the challenges facing industry over the move to digital radio. By 2013, all vehicles should be manufactured with digital radio as standard. By 2015, when the FM content will move to digital radio, all vehicles on the road should be equipped to receive the digital signal.

At the Inquiry, Mr Everitt explained; “A pan-European approach to the introduction of digital radio in vehicles is vital to a successful switchover. Every one of the 31 million vehicles currently on UK roads will be affected by the switchover, so coverage and content concerns must be satisfied, in addition to a means of converting existing FM radios to receive the digital signal.”
The Committee heard that a collaborative approach between broadcasters, vehicle manufacturers and government is essential to the effective delivery of recommendations set out in the Digital Britain Report.  Government should clarify how a digital platform could support traffic information, as well as the feasibility of continuing transmission of traffic information on FM.
The Inquiry also heard that satellite navigation relies on the FM signal for its traffic information. A significant investment will be required to enable the full functionality of these devices post-switchover.
Concluding the session, Mr Everitt stressed that it was important for broadcasters to engage with consumers to raise awareness of digital radio and the breadth of content on offer to increase demand for as-standard equipment in vehicles.

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