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SMMT cautious over DAB deadline

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has welcomed the Government’s Digital Britain report to implement DAB radios in all new cars by 2013, but has reservations on meeting the deadline.

Carmarkers and the Digital Radio Working Group had advised Government that before it would commit to providing DAB as standard, digital coverage must be comparable to FM coverage in the UK.

However, the SMMT’s main concern regards the 32 million vehicles already on the road. Only a small percentage of these will already have DAB radios fitted and, while the report says that the remainder could be converted or use low cost aftermarket devices, the timetable is extremely challenging.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “This is an ambitious and accelerated timetable for all involved but we welcome the clarity it provides to motorists and industry alike.

“There are already a number of digitally enabled products available for motorists as options but the long-term challenge will be for the broadcasters to invest in content and coverage to create demand for these products to be provided as standard.

“Ultimate success will be achieved through working with government and content providers to deliver products which ensure that the investment is justified. We look forward to discussing the next steps with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the coming weeks.”

The report sets out a five-point plan to encourage take-up of digital radio in cars:

  • Work with manufacturers so that vehicles sold with a radio are digitally enabled by the end of 2013.
  • Support a common logo for digital radios and ensure that non-DAB radios and their limitations are clearly labelled.
  • Encourage the development of portable digital converters.
  • Promote the introduction of more sophisticated traffic information via DAB and comprehensive marketing by broadcasters.
  • Work with European partners to develop a common European approach to digital radio.

The full Digital Britain report can be accessed here.

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