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Norway to Become the First Nation to Switch off FM Radio

By Vishal Goel, | January 08, 2017

The shutdown of the Frequency Modulation (FM) network, which was introduced in 1950s, is expected to begin on January 11 in the northern city of Bodoe. (YouTube)

The shutdown of the Frequency Modulation (FM) network, which was introduced in 1950s, is expected to begin on January 11 in the northern city of Bodoe. (YouTube)

Norway is set to become the first country to switch off its FM radio network. The proposal, opposed by 66 percent of Norwegians over concerns about missing important emergency warnings broadcasted via radio, has been approved by the country's parliament to shift to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).

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The shutdown of the Frequency Modulation (FM) network, which was introduced in 1950s, is expected to begin on January 11 in the northern city of Bodoe.

According to Reuters, two million cars in Norway are not equipped with DAB receivers. Thus the move by the government has been criticized as rushed. A good digital adapter for an FM car radio costs 1,500 Norwegian crowns ($174.70)

According to an opinion poll published by the daily Dagbladet last month, only 17 percent of the people of the country are for the move while the rest are either against it or undecided.

The Norwegian parliament gave the final go-ahead for the move last month, swayed by the fact that digital networks can carry more radio channels.

According to the Norwegian government and other backers, DAB would carry less hiss and clearer sound throughout the large nation of five million people cut by fjords and mountains.

"We're the first country to switch off FM but there are several countries going in the same direction," said Ole Joergen Torvmark, head of Digital Radio Norway.

Among other countries, Switzerland is planning a similar shift by 2020, with Britain and Denmark among those considering such a switch.

Voicing concerns similar to those expressed by thousands of elderly and drivers in surveys, Ib Thomsen, an MP from the Norwegian Progress Party, a partner in the Conservative-led government, said that the country is not yet ready for this change and that millions of radios in Norwegian homes will stop working when the FM net is switched off, and this is a safety concern.

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