Saturday, 1 July 2017

FM Band Boost in Sweden. 170 Additional Frequencies for Commercial Radio

Successful frequency planning prior to licensing period 2018-2026.
The Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) has presented a new frequency plan for the FM band for commercial radio in Sweden. This will provide more frequency radio resources and creates new opportunities for national, regional and local commercial broadcast areas. Current FM radio broadcast licenses will expire on July 31, 2018 and new eight-year licenses will be announced. Prior to this, PTS has been commissioned by the government to develop a new analogue commercial radio frequency plan which now will include 380 frequencies on the FM band besides frequencies assigned for public and community radio.

The frequency plan will promote competition and diversity throughout the radio area and provide the conditions for a viable commercial radio and enable broadcasting areas with as wide coverage as possible. The frequency plan presented by PTS today allows three national broadcasting areas with a population coverage of approximately 81-83% each, as well as regional and local broadcast areas.

PTS has based the new frequency plan on the over 380 existing frequency resources already coordinated with neighboring countries. For about 180 of these, PTS has improved broadcasting opportunities, for example, by increasing power output or reducing antenna diagram reductions. In addition, PTS has also developed about 170 brand new frequency resources spread across the country, either by using existing masts or from completely new geographic locations.

These new frequency resources allow for coverage from at least three commercial actors for about 60 locations currently either completely lacking commercial radio coverage or covered by fewer than three commercial actors networks.

The work of the assignment has included adjustments of frequency resources currently used for commercial FM radio but also finding new useful frequency resources. All in all, the frequency plan allows commercial operators to broadcast significantly more radio, both in terms of more program formats to a larger proportion of the population and across larger geographic areas than is possible today.

In addition to the three national licenses for commercial radio on the FM band 35 regional and local licenses will be distributed.

The public radio SR is not affected by the new frequency plan, as are the conditions for running community radio at the same extent as today. This, together with the coordination situation with neighboring countries, has been limiting factors in the work on the new frequency plan. Despite this, the frequency planning mission can be termed as successful.

This year there has been no reports of interest in DAB radio in Sweden. Previously, commercial radio has been assigned 21 national and four local / regional digital radio (DAB+) licenses for the period 2014-2022. However, there are still no broadcasts while the services must start not later than October 1, 2017.

Download the report from PTS (in Swedish)
Frequency Planning for Analogue Commercial Radio - Final Report of Swedish Government Assignment

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