The Digital Britain report, published today, takes the country a step nearer to digital radio switchover.

Digital Britain says that the government is committed to “a bold digital migration plan that involves all the parties to take the majority of listening from FM to DAB as soon as possible.”

In exchange for a clear plan from industry to drive the migration to digital the Government will:

ۢ Develop a digital migration plan for radio which will migrate to DAB all national radio services and local services, carried on a local multiplex. This plan will include criteria which will need to be satisfied before migration can begin.

ۢ Work with the industry to satisfy the migration criteria by 2015 and where possible identify initiatives which could bring forward the migration timetable.

ۢ Take an early legislative opportunity to address some of the underlying structural problems of the DAB multiplex system, in order to facilitate greater sustainability, and encourage the establishment of more digital radio services.

ۢ Work with the BBC on how they can extend their digital radio coverage at least to replicate current FM analogue coverage.

ۢ Undertake a cost-benefit analysis of digital migration.

ۢ Engage with manufacturers and other European countries to implement the European digital radio profiles agreed by World DMB.

ۢ Explore further, with Ofcom, which of the recommended incentives and investments it would be appropriate to pursue.

The report is welcomed by broadcasters and manufacturers across the digital radio chain.

Tony Moretta, chief executive, Digital Radio Development Bureau, says: “The Digital Britain report rightly recognises that ‘DAB has become the platform of choice for digital radio listening۪. According to the latest RAJAR figures, DAB delivers almost six times the number of listening hours of internet radio. There is much to be done to meet the criteria for migration, and we will be working closely with our partners broadcasters and manufacturers to achieve the goals set out in this report as quickly as possible.”

Laurence Harrison, director of consumer electronics for trade body Intellect says: “This commitment to DAB as the primary distribution network for radio is exactly the sort of strong and decisive leadership we wanted to see from government. The Digital Britain report has rightly recognised that the radio industry needed this shot in the arm to move forward and stimulate further growth and investment in innovative devices and content. Our UK DAB manufacturers are now rightly positioned as a significant piece of the digital communications jigsaw both here and internationally. Intellect and its members are now looking forward to the challenge of working with our industry partners to plan the migration to DAB.”

Says Leslie Burrage, Chief Executive at ROBERTS: “Today’s announcement simply confirms our sentiments from the outset. From the beginning we have identified the need to drive radio to digital, via a closer working relationship between the Government, broadcasters, Ofcom and manufacturers alike. The Government۪s commitment to DAB, as outlined in its digital migration plan, now gives all parties a common goal to work towards and at ROBERTS we are keen to get going! We have a host of new products lined up for 2009 that will continue to encourage the migration of our consumers and reinforce the DAB proposition.”

Colin Crawford, PURE’s director of marketing says: “The government’s endorsement of the DRWG report is great news for UK radio listeners and British Industry which leads the way in this field. PURE, as one of the key innovators in the DAB industry, is looking forward to fulfilling the increased demand that this endorsement is bound to generate.”