Digital radio broadcasting in Europe

The frequency band available for DAB broadcasting is not the same as the existing USW-FM (VHF) band. The participants of the frequency design meeting in Wiesbaden in 1995 allocated frequency blocks for DAB in the VHF-I, VHF-II, VHF-III, and the L band. Trial broadcasts and regular broadcasts have started in the VHF-III and L bands. Most broadcasts are to be found in the VHF-III band. This is one of the reasons for the fact that the currently widely used FM receivers do not, unfortunately, receive DAB transmissions.

DAB broadcasting is possible on a terrestrial basis (T-DAB), via satellite (S-DAB) or cable networks (C-DAB). Terrestrial DAB broadcasting uses the VHF-III band and the lower channels of the L-band, while the higher frequency channels of the L-band have been designated for satellite broadcasting. Thanks to the design of the system DAB is highly tolerant of reflections of the signal reception. This feature enables the design of Single Frequency Networks (SFN).

During the fairly lengthy phase of the introduction of the DAB developers worked out the use of a more efficient procedure for source coding on the DAB, now referred to as DAB+. The standardisation process was completed in February 2007. At the same time, the DMB platform (Digital Multimedia Platform) was developed through a collaboration project between German and Korean experts. DMB is a mobile television system based on the infrastructure of the DAB broadcasting network. DMB broadcasts were started in Germany in 2006 of the events of the soccer world championship from the seventeen towns hosting matches, while outside Europe DMB is operating as a commercial service in Korea and Singapore, along with test broadcasts in several European locations.

Experiments with DAB+ are underway in many countries worldwide, for example in our region including Switzerland with 13 radio programs broadcast in DAB+ format and the Czech Republic with 3 experimental broadcasts. In 2009 DAB+ and DMB trials were started in Poland, DAB+ in Sweden, DMB in Norway. Pilot projects are running among others in France (DMB radio), in Ireland (DAB, DMB) and in Italy (DAB, DAB+, DMB radio and video).

For further information about the introduction of DAB, DAB+, DMB standards in different countries (in and outside Europe), please, visit the next page: country information.