All new cars to be equipped with a DAB+ radio receiver within two years
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    All new cars to be equipped with a DAB+ radio receiver within two years

    © Belga
    Of new vehicles sold last year, around 30% were equipped with a DAB+ radio.
    © Belga

    All new cars in Europe are to be equipped with a radio receiver compatible with DAB+, the digital radio which is due to gradually succeed FM broadcasting. The green light, under the European Electronic Communications Code, was officially given on Friday during the press day at the Brussels Motor Show. EU Member states now have two years to transfer the code into their national legislation.

    DAB+ is a technology which enables you to listen to the radio, using digital, everywhere – for free and without an Internet subscription. In a way it proves to be the digital equivalent of FM, “but better and stronger”, reports the website www.dabplus.be, which is entirely given over to it. There is a broader programme offering and the ease of listening is particularly improved in comparison with FM. Moreover, the former FM system will gradually be replaced by the new technology in a few years’ time.

    In Brussels and Wallonia, it is already possible to listen to all private networks and radio stations owned by RTBF: Antipode (Brussels and the Walloon Brabant province), Bel RTL, Classic 21, DH Radio, FUN Radio, La Première, Nostalgie and Maximum FM (Liège). The position is likewise for Must FM (Namur and the province of Luxembourg), NRJ, Pure, Radio Contact, Sud Radio (the Hainaut province), Tarmac and Vivacité, and BRF 1 (the radio station specifically for the German-speaking community). The offering will soon be expanded with new radio stations, which do not exist on FM frequencies, when private radio stations receive further DAB+ licences.

    The new European Electronic Communications Code provides that “every integrated car radio in a new vehicle, either sold or hired within Europe, must include a receiver capable of receiving and reproducing radio programmes broadcast by terrestrial digital radio.” That should be the case within two years. Of new vehicles sold last year, around 30% were equipped with a DAB+ radio. Moreover, since 2013, more than half a million receivers were sold in Belgium. However, the figure for receivers includes cars, but also those installed in vehicles other than cars. 

    Christopher Vincent 
    The Brussels Times