The Geography of Digital Audio Broadcasting

Digital Audio

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) started in Europe. It was a research project in the 1980’s, and as the research proved the technology to be functional, stations starting using it and consumers started listening to it. The first DAB station was a BBC station, in 1995, but it was primarily a test station.

The first commercial DAB receivers were not sold until 1999.rnrnThe availability of DAB stations, and their geographic spread, reflects this Euro-centric beginning. Stations are widely available throughout Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, and the Iberian Peninsula. It is being tested in France, Italy, Ireland, and several other countries. Canada has a tendency to follow both European and American trends, so it has followed Europe in the adoption of regular DAB broadcasts.rnrnOther than Canada, there is virtually no availability in the Americas.

The USA follows its traditional “We didn’t start it, it can’t be that good,” and most of the Central American and South American countries have no availability either. Either they haven’t had the funds, or they have other priorities. A similar situation exists in most of Africa, although there have been trials in South Africa.rnrnAsia, however, is a completely different story. Australia follows European trends, and they have widespread availability.

China has also done a lot with the technology, and they have widespread availability, even though most Chinese consumers can’t really afford it. As a country, China likes to be at the cutting edge of whatever is available, as much as possible. Because of the Australian and Chinese interest, there is sporadic availability or testing throughout most Southeast Asian countries.rnrnIn summary, if you are in any industrialized country, except for the United States, and in most near-industrialized countries, DAB is either widely available, or being tested.

As the technology improves, and continues to tackle technical problems that impede its adoption, that availability will spread.

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