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dab_radio.jpgBritons may have to chuck away their trusty FM and AM radios in nine years time, according to a new report.

The research carried out by the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) said
that if digital radio got more popular, a migration away from analogue
to digital could happen by 2017.

It said that in order for the FM signals to be switched off over 50 per
cent of listeners must be tuning into digital radio station. The
nationwide coverage must be equal to that of current FM transmitters.
And local multiplexes must cover at least 90 per cent of the population
and all major roads.

the group recommended that watchdog Ofcom should monitor progress of
the plan against these criteria and that a date for analogue switch off
should happen within two years of these crteria being met. The group
said that this could happen by 2017.

"We have always believed in the future of digital radio and now urge
the industry, along with Government and Ofcom to address the barriers
to successful migration, so people can access even more choice and
functionality in the future," said Barry Cox, Chairman of the DRWG.

"Most importantly we need to see overall coverage for DAB improve,
along with more focus to get motorists to adopt DAB so that it can be a
real alternative to FM services."

It said that the government should relax some existing laws in order
to overcome barriers to migration. It also said that there should be
more focus on motorists to buy digital radios for their cars and duty
exemptions to make DAB radios cheaper.