ABC announces permanent digital radio service for Canberra

Canberra is expected to receive a permanent digital radio service for the first time in 2017.

The technology, called DAB+, offers better sound than AM/FM analogue services and allows for extra stations, images and live text.

Canberra will receive a permanent digital radio service in 2017.

Photo: Rob Homer

ABC announced on Tuesday it would work with SBS to make permanent its digital radio trial in the capital. Darwin and Hobart will also receive the services as the national broadcaster moves away from shortwave radio transmission.

ABC radio director Michael Mason said: "Extending our DAB+ offer will allow audiences in every capital city in Australia equal access to our digital radio offering, as well as representing an ongoing broadcast cost saving owing to lower transmission costs."

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said commercial stations were working with the broadcasters on their regional rollout plans.

"DAB+ is greener and more spectrum efficient than analogue radio and is particularly well-suited to Australians living in regional areas because it allows broadcasters to use their allocated capacity dynamically," Ms Warner said.

"This means, for example, broadcasters can launch pop-up stations to provide 24x7 emergency services bulletins in times of fire or flood."

Canberrans can already access a limited selection of ABC digital radio channels as part of the trial broadcast, with ABC Radio National, local radio, ABC Jazz, triple j Unearthed and ABC Grandstand on offer.

Commercial broadcasters Capital Radio and Canberra FM have also been running trial digital radio services in the capital.

Digital radio was launched in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in 2009.

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