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The Internet Communications Networking United Kingdom News

Why UK FM Needn't Be Killed For Broadband 108

Posted by timothy
from the next-we'll-cure-all-known-diseases dept.
superglaze writes "Alarmed by rumours of the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom considering a shut-down of FM radio in order to give more spectrum over to broadband, ZDNet UK's Rupert Goodwins has proposed another idea: the reuse of the mostly disused 'Band I' and the creation of a new, national open mesh network — a plan that could bring internet connectivity to everyone at very low cost."
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Why UK FM Needn't Be Killed For Broadband

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  • by Thnurg (457568) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @04:10AM (#36703166) Homepage

    Please correct me of I'm wrong, but an open mesh network would completely decentralise internet connectivity leaving the Government with no way to implement website blocking and three-strikes laws etc.
    While a truly democratic government would support open mesh in the public interest I doubt our lot would approve it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @04:28AM (#36703210)

    There's one other huge issue - digital radio works via multiplexes, where single TX companies handle many transmitters. You can't run a single station on DAB; you have to go pay a multiplex. This costs huge amounts of money. Community radio and low power FM/restricted license FM (for event coverage, for instance) still have to be able to broadcast, even if you say you're going to put all commercial stuff on DAB, but DAB isn't a replacement for FM just yet. A lot needs to be done in organization and legislation to make sure it's an even playing field; right now, companies get the say over where you can broadcast if you want to, as opposed to right now where Ofcom decides that. Not good.

  • by mattsday (909414) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @04:34AM (#36703222)

    Exactly this. I have a DAB (Digital) Radio in my car. However, I find myself using FM (or even AM) about 20-30% of the time just to get a good signal.

    Problems I've had:

    • No graceful degradation of quality. There are three modes - good, awful and "no signal". By 'awful' think a poorly encoded MP3 from a scratched CD downloaded in ASCII mode.
    • Semi-frequent drop-outs. I read that most people listen to the radio in their cars these days. However, even sticking to the UK Motorway system, I end up with "No Signal" quite frequently, even along major routes.
    • Time lag - DAB lags more than a couple of seconds behind FM, so when I'm using the 'pips' to set my watch it's off by a long way (minor grudge I guess)

    In short, I'm someone who went and bought in to the DAB idea and I like some features (e.g. having 5 live and Absolute Radio available in most places not counting the above). However, I think DAB needs some serious re-thinks before it can fully replace FM. Unless you can drive the length of the country and experience the same reception and quality as FM then it shouldn't be replaced.

  • by Teknikal69 (1769274) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @05:09AM (#36703294)
    I don't rate digital radio at all it's worse quality than FM not to mention the radios themselves suck up way more power and seem to break incredibly quickly. Of all things digital I can think of digital radio is the only one that's really a step backwards in my opinion.

    Wouldn't suprise me if they forced this through anyway though for a short term profit.

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