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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Radio stations face analogue axe
Analogue radio dial
Ofcom says any switch off would be a matter for the government
Traditional analogue radio stations could be facing extinction under proposals put forward by the communications regulator Ofcom.

It is suggesting a review of AM stations in 2009 and of FM services in 2012, or when digital use accounts for 50% of the total, whichever is sooner.

It also wants analogue licences, up for renewal from 2009, to be extended - but with a two-year notice of termination.

Ofcom says the analogue bandwidth taken up by radio could be put to better use.

Costs and benefits

The regulator is predicting 90% of all radio listening will be via digital platforms by 2017 and is launching a consultation on how best to use the analogue signal.

Current licences are set to expire between 2009 and 2027, depending on the date of issue.

An Ofcom spokesman said: "There is no date set for switching off analogue radio signals but with the increased use of digital we need flexibility in the spectrum.

"Any such changes are a matter for government and parliament but they may wish to consider how to allow Ofcom to achieve common end-dates for all FM and AM licences."

It added: "Any reviews would include a full assessment of the costs and benefits, taking into account the needs of consumers, including the most vulnerable members of society."

Ofcom believes the freed-up spectrum could be used for mobile television, more digital radio, more community radio services or other new technologies.

The consultation will end in June.




SEE ALSO
Ofcom plans radio spectrum sale
11 Dec 06 |  Business
First digital TV switch date set
15 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Q&A: Digital television
15 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Spectrum plan threatens radio mic
20 Feb 07 |  Technology
Will digital kill the radio star?
19 Feb 07 |  Technology

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