Radio: Digital Broadcasting

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 6th July 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will delay or abolish the proposed switch off of FM analogue broadcasting in light of its effect on poorer households.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) (jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

holding answer 5 July 2010

Around a quarter of all radio listening is now to digital, so a future transition to digital radio continues to gain impetus. However, the Government's policy is not to switch off FM. We believe that FM will continue to provide a platform for local and community radio for the foreseeable future.

It would not be in anyone's interest to force stations on to DAB or to 'switch off FM at a time when it would leave any local stations without an appropriate broadcast platform. The assurance we can give, therefore, is that FM will continue for as long as it is needed and viable.

With reference to the effect on poorer households, digital radios are portable, easy to use and affordable, with the cheapest models available for about £25 and manufacturers are committed to developing even more affordable DAB sets.

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