Welcome news from the government

 

          The government has decided not to require everyone to move to digital radios, and  not to set a deadline for a transition to digital.

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29 Comments

  1. Mark
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I saw the news. Apparently the minister listened to independent commercial broadcasters, but he didn’t seem to have taken much account of what consumers think according to the report.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/10520514/Reprieve-for-FM-as-Government-abandons-digital-radio-deadline.html

    • forthurst
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      “Apparently the minister listened to independent commercial broadcasters”

      He needs to read the report in The Register, “Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence” which paints a far less rosey picture of the take up of DAB by listeners and the business case for Independents:

      “In the three months to September, FM’s share of listening increased (to 61.1 per cent). while DAB’s fell (to 23 per cent).”

      “The carriage cost alone of a nationwide DAB commercial station is £1.2m, according to industry sources, and that’s before you’ve made a single program. This transmission fee was what made JazzFM and Classic go local. (etc ed)”

      • stred
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        The figure for DAB use apparently includes listeners using the internet, which is free, worldwide and more reliable. I live 500m and slightly downhill from the transmitter and DAB still cuts out and is unusable. They are still aiming to flog off the FM frequencies as soon as they can.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Indeed I was very surprised by how high they claimed the DAB % listening was – that explains it it included computers, radio on tvs, and downloads – so it was not that high at all, it was just a slight of hand (or perhaps deception).

          Poor reception, expensive, old technology, not very portable and very battery hungry in comparison.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    This is good news.

    All but the BBC channels on my digital radio are subject to interference. This means that I leave it tuned to BBC rather than commercial channels.

    I’m sure it wasn’t planned to make the BBC the monopoly broadcaster but that’s what it risks doing.

    Corruption, ineptitude or both ?

  3. Mark
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I note the boss of INEOS, Jim Ratcliffe agrees with me about the needless expense of Hinkley C:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25390456

    Power from the new Hinkley C nuclear generator will be too expensive, the boss of one of the UK’s biggest energy consumers has warned.

    Jim Ratcliffe, whose company Ineos owns the Grangemouth plant in Scotland, told the BBC that UK manufacturers would find the price unaffordable.

    The government has guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour (Mwh).

    Mr Ratcliffe said Ineos recently agreed a deal for nuclear power in France at 45 euros (£37.94) per Mwh.

    We’re being ripped off. Why aren’t MPs complaining about it?

    • stred
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      The DECC replied in the article that the consumer need not worry about paying the agreed figure until Hinkley Point is producing. Then EDF will make up the difference ifthe price is higher by then. Nowhere, do they reveal whether the price is inflation linked or not. If it is, the price will have inreased by around 50%. If not, then it may be a less extortionate deal. JR, could you find out? It may be another occasion, like the ERM, where the ministry is keeping quiet and creating policy without approval.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, but is it just on hold until after the election?

    Also good news “Afghanistan mission accomplished” says David Cameron. But might he now actually tell us what that the mission actually was, this mission that has apparently now been accomplished?

    • Chris
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Also the cost in terms of lives and those seriously injured, and financial cost

      • acorn
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Did you hear the tale doing the rounds that the Taleban and various other flush Arab premier league bandits and pirates, are making offers on US / NATO military kit!

        There is so much kit out there that a lot will be abandoned and not brought back to any NATO barracks; too expensive and too dangerous to truck it on low loaders through hostile territory.

  5. Bob
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    That is good news.

    Have they set a timetable for the sacking of Chris Patten an the long overdue privatisation of the dysfunctional BBC yet?

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      And all the fools who appointed him!

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Just trying to keep on topic. It wasn’t a DAB radio where I heard your name , but University Challenge by J.Paxman.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      yes one question I got correct depsite only partially listening and doing a few other things at the same time…

      • stred
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        I was half asleep but noticed that the otherwise very clever students could only answer the question on uncertainty about momentum and position. They did not know the time/energy relationship or the constant. These are basic principles given in every non specialist book on the subject. The teaching of science must be very lacking.

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted December 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          As a matter of interest I am uncertain about that too.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Only three days ago you told us that it wasn’t the government but “I can assure you it is the BBC driving this change”. Now we have “Welcome news from the government”.
    However, before you get us too excited the Mail quotes Mr Vaisez:” in a written ministerial statement, he said: ‘In spite of recent progress, the current rate of digital listening has not yet reached 40 per cent. We have always been clear that the switch to digital must be consumer-led rather than Government imposed.
    Therefore, we do not believe that now is the time to commit to a switchover. Nonetheless, we want to maintain the positive industry action to promote digital listening, because we know that consumers like the clearer sound and ease of tuning, not to mention the wide range of content offered.’
    In other words wait till that pesky election is out of the way and watch us move.

  8. Mark B
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Luddites !

    • Iain Moore
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      What a ridiculous comment.

      First of all it might be easier to sell digital radios if peoples experience of digital TV broadcast wasn’t so appalling, where politicians have delude themselves into believing it went well and painlessly when quite the reverse was true.

      First off all it put us to a lot of cost having to buy digital boxes, and then my poor 80 year old Mum got totally lost with all the zappers, the confusion destroyed her confidence, and in the end the cost wasn’t just in a digital box, but having to buy a new TV with integral digital tuner, but worse had to include a FreeSat tuner, because the digital service in the area is so rotten, and still is , so we had to stump up the cost of a satellite dish as well.

      Secondly, as I have said, the digital service is a appalling , how is it that even though I live in the South of England, the digital service to the area is rubbish? How is it that we keep on getting channels squeaking, bleeping, and pixillating out , with the channel disappearing, only for it to mysteriously reappear some days later?

      So before the political class even think about radio digital broadcast they need to sort out the rubbish digital TV service.

  9. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Would you advise me to invest in an Enigma machine just as a precaution in case of a policy change?

  10. They Work For Us
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    On a serious note, how does the govt. propose to communicate with the public in the event of a national disaster? long wave eg Radio 4 gives good national coverage and is not line of sight. I am not sure if long wave is going to be maintained and would be interested to know how national emergency messages would be passed to the population if needed. One of the first things to fall over would be digital radio and TV.

  11. They Work For Us
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for above. What I meant to say was:

    On a serious note, how does the govt. propose to communicate with the public in the event of a national disaster?
    Previously I believe that long wave eg Radio 4 would be used because it gave good national coverage and was not line of sight like FM.
    Ina national emergency, one of the first things to fall over would be digital radio, the mobile phone network and TV. So how would national coverage for emergency messages be delivered.
    ?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      We don’t need a national emergency here for the digital service to fall over, for it falls over here on frequent occasions without any apparent reason.

  12. Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    DAB = Definitely Awful Broadcasting !
    I’m surprised that the Advertising Standards Authority haven’t said anything about the adverts for DAB. It is certainly not interference free, my FM reception is far better. Quality in most cases is poorer than FM due to the digitisation frequency. Most of the radios are complicated to use, and portables are really out of the question due to high battery usage. Certainly DAB is no great breakthrough as far as the user is concerned, nor is it as far as the country is concerned as most of the radios are imported from the Far East.

    • Atlas
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you English pensioner. Quite why it is ‘green’ to scrap so many perfectly servicable AM/FM radio sets that are economical on battery power and replace them with expensive, power hungry, poorly performing DAB radios, has eluded me.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps a Minister can now prevail on whoever it was who required the energy companies to remove prompt payment discounts to change his mind. Quite why it was necessary to interfere in this way with the operation of the market place is beyond me.

  14. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Don’t believe the government on this. It sounds as they are attempting to fool us (again), They’ll keep pushing it and then impose a date later on. Maybe someone somewhere will keep a track of these tactics as we approach the General Election and the Scottish referendum.
    And I’m still waiting for a reply from my MP Ed Vaisey on whether or not he is prepared to support to the establishment of a parliament for England. It isn’t as if it requires any research on his part, so that cannot account for the delay.

  15. Woodsy42
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but these two facts don’t mean the same thing. The fact of not setting a date does not mean they don’t intend on enforcing the move at some point.
    Personally I have two DAB radios but reception is poor and sound quality for music is terrible due to the low resolution digitisation, I have returned to using my old FM set. Dab is a failed experiment as far as I’m concerned.

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    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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