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Thai regulator confirms digital radio trial for mid-2014

Thailand is set to trial digital radio from the middle of this year, with a roll-out starting in 2015.

In an interview with Asia Radio Today, Col. Natee Sukonrat, Vice-Chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the NBTC, together with state-owned public broadcaster MCOT, the government Public Relations Department and the Royal Thai Army would conduct the year-long trial.

He said the technical and commercial trial would be designed to help Thai radio broadcasters to get the real experience of new digital technology and understand how the new transmission system would improve delivery. He said commercial radio broadcasters wanted to see the potential of digital radio.

“The NBTC would like to take this trial as an opportunity to introduce the new technology of digital radio broadcasting to the Thai people,” he said

Thailand’s digital radio will be provided on VHF bands, with high frequency used for analogue television. Col. Sukonrat said the number of the digital licenses should be enough to cover the existing radio broadcasters.

Asked whether the government had settled on DAB+ possibly with DRM, Col. Sukonrat said

DAB+ was one of their preferences, though they were keeping their options open for other technologies.

Col. Sukonrat said there was a possibility for community radio to operate on the FM band, as FM receivers were currently less expensive than digital receivers.

He said the NBTC was planning to subsidise the cost of radio receivers, though the subsidy program “would not be exactly the same as the one for digital TV”.

Full interview is available here.