ASEAN Members Focus on Digital Radio

For the first time ASEAN organised a digital radio workshop held in Brunei Darussalam on 15-16 Nov 2017. The aim was to discuss the status, challenges and intentions regarding the digitisation of radio broadcasting in the ASEAN countries. Representatives from all the 10 ASEAN countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – were present. The participants presented the details of their radio transmissions, status of digital radio transmissions and the issues. During these presentations we learnt that Malaysia and Singapore had introduced digital transmissions in 2009 and 2011, respectively, using DAB+ but in Singapore this was discontinued due to high cost of receivers. Representatives of Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar mentioned that they are considering various options for going digital. Representatives of DRM, DAB and HD Radio systems made full presentations to the participants.  Implementation of DRM digitisation of the AIR terrestrial radio network was outlined by the Hon Chair of the India Chapter of DRM Consortium who went into quite a bit of detail including some of the issues being faced when implementing such a complex project. The last afternoon of the workshop was a closed session in which the participants deliberated on the need to go for the digitisation of the terrestrial radio and the choice of the digital standard. An ASEAN recommendation will come in due course but for now it seems that the participants believe terrestrial radio must be digitised using state-of-the-art, green technology and that DRM or DAB+ (or both) may be used depending on the specific requirements of each ASEAN country.

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