Technology: Britain in DAB hand at digital

2019-03-01 03:15:00

By BARRY FOX The BBC will launch a digital audio broadcasting service in September 1995, making Britain the first country in the world to use the new European technology for a fully fledged digital radio service. According to the BBC, the advantages of DAB are interference-free reception, an end to the need to retune car radios as you move from area to area, hi-fi reception at home without a rooftop aerial, and CD-quality sound. ‘DAB is the future of radio,’ says Philip Laven, the BBC’s head of engineering policy. ‘Every receiver will eventually be replaced.’ DAB was developed as a Eureka project, and Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry hopes that British companies will benefit by selling their implementations abroad, especially to developing countries. GSM digital cellphone technology, another pan-European development which received support from the European Commission, is now used around the world. However, the US is unlikely to adopt the system, possibly because it is too efficient. ‘The last thing American local radio stations want is for listeners to be able to tune in to other cities,’ Laven suggests. But Stephen Temple of the DTI’s telecommunications division believes developing countries see DAB as the ideal replacement for short-wave radio. The new service will use frequencies at the top of the VHF band, around 230 megahertz. A band of frequencies 12.5 MHz wide has been set aside for DAB. They will be able to carry 42 high-quality stereo programmes, or more mono or lower-quality speech channels, either nationally or locally. The BBC will build its own transmitters for the DAB service. They will initially serve the London area,