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DAB+ on the move in Thailand

There has been impressive progress in Thailand since the first DAB+ workshop in 2013. The NBTC/ITU Roadmap for the introduction of digital terrestrial radio services in Thailand has been published, including sample frequency plans, cost modelling and international benchmarks for DAB+ deployment to reference in the development of regulatory and policy framework for Thailand.

WorldDAB understands that the draft frequency plan needs to be approved and a period of public consultation is required prior to the DAB+ trial services starting. Planning so far has involved Government, all leading sectors of the Thai broadcast industry, infrastructure providers, systems integrators, vehicles and radio manufacturers. Thailand has got this right, its crucial to start the conversation with key stakeholders early; keeping them well informed as planning progresses to a comprehensive trial.

With over 5000 FM services currently on air in Thailand, DAB+ provides an opportunity to remove congestion, remove interference with aeronautical bands and plan for an interference-free network of licensed broadcasters. This interference needs to be addressed, as NBTC estimate that radio’s penetration has fallen from 38% in 2012 down to 16% or around 10m people in 2016.

There are eight proposed DAB+ trial sites in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Prajuab Kirikhan, Khon Kaen in the north and Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla in the south of the country on the Malaysian border, delivering 80% population coverage. Until analogue TV switch off in 2023, the DAB+ services will need to be co-located to avoid interference; national SFNs and local MFNs are possible in the future.