Broadcasting: Analogue Radios

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Carter of Barnes on 30 June (WA 30-31), what assessment they have made of the domestic reception of digital radio broadcasting in Northern Ireland, the time taken to warm up digital radios and their signal reception.

Photo of Lord Carter of Barnes Lord Carter of Barnes Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Communications, Technology and Broadcasting), Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Communications, Technology and Broadcasting), Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Communications, Technology and Broadcasting) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Communications, Technology and Broadcasting) (also the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

The Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG)* looked closely at digital audio broadcasting (DAB) current and planned coverage across the UK. One of the key purposes of the work of the group was to provide momentum to encourage digital radio rollout. This has continued with the Digital Britain White Paper.

Figures provided by the DRWG's Spectrum Group at the end of 2008 showed that 87.6 per cent** of the population in Northern Ireland are able to receive DAB. We acknowledge there is a short delay when switching on some DAB radio sets. This is caused by the processor "powering up" in much the same way as a computer does.

There have been discussions between broadcasters and manufacturers about improving the reception of DAB sets. I expect this to continue in the future to improve the reception of sets further.

*The DRWG was established in November 2007 by the Secretary of State to consider digital radio in the UK.

**The figure of 87.6 per cent population coverage of DAB in Northern Ireland is based on BBC Radio 2's coverage. Radio 2's FM coverage in Northern Ireland is 98.3 per cent.

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