France’s DAB legislation forces OEMs into action

France’s DAB legislation forces OEMs into action

The move ties in with growing pressure from EU governments to accelerate the transition from analogue to digital radio.

David McClure, SBD's director for telematics & ITS, suggests that France's new law will be received with mixed feelings.

"On the one hand the legislation gives vehicle manufacturers more confidence in the future of a pan-European approach to digital radio. However, there will be tough time pressures in which to rollout DAB as standard on all their cars for just one market," says McClure.

He adds that the suddenness of the legislation reinforces the need for vehicle manufacturers to become more actively involved with broadcasters and governments to pre-empt similar laws in other countries. The automotive industry will be keen to avoid a situation in which each EU country introduces different legislation forcing varying, and costly, country specific solutions.

A recent government report published in the UK also places aspirational targets for the fitment of DAB in all new cars from 2014 – a move seen by many as the first step towards legislation.

"Despite a slow start, we are now entering a crucial phase for DAB which is slowly creeping towards a tipping point that may finally open the floodgates to a truly pan-European digital radio service," says McClure.

SBD's research shows that fewer than 20% of models within Europe are currently offered with DAB, whilst the average cost of DAB as an option is relatively high at approximately €300. However, SBD not only expects this statistic to change but also expects the legislation to have an impact on the DAB family of standards such as DAB, DAB+ and DMB.

"‘Clearly, the importance of a single pan-European approach to digital radio also extends beyond radio listening," points out McClure. "There are a number of vehicle manufacturers and traffic information service providers that are actively developing next-generation TPEG services, replacing RDS TMC to deliver enhanced traffic and travel services.

Finding a single pan-European digital bearer for delivering these TPEG services is crucial to ensuring a swift mass-market adoption. The injection of life into DAB in France will give the automotive industry some confidence that the deployment of DAB-based TPEG receivers could be a good strategy. McClure says that when you add all this together, there has never been a greater need to stay informed about legislative and market developments within DAB.

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