Cosgrove, United Kingdom (PressExposure) March 21, 2009 -- In new research on the development of DAB and pan-European traffic information services, SBD correctly predicts growing pressure by EU governments to promote a faster transition from analogue to digital radio.
A new law recently introduced by the French government mandates that all new cars sold from 2013 onwards will need to be fitted with digital radio as standard. This legislation follows on from a recent UK government report placing aspirational - but not yet legal - targets for the fitment of DAB in all new cars from 2014.
The big question now is how will the French legislation impact vehicle manufacturers, and how should the automotive industry react to this growing government-led push for the DAB family of standards (DAB, DAB+ and DMB)?
David McClure, SBD's Director for Telematics & ITS, said: "We expect the automotive industry to react with mixed feelings towards this legislation in France. It gives vehicle manufacturers more confidence in the future of a pan-European approach to digital radio, but places tough time pressures in which to roll-out DAB as standard onto all their cars for just one market. The suddenness of this legislation reinforces the need for vehicle manufacturers to become more actively involved with broadcasters and governments in order to pre-empt similar laws in other countries."
SBD's research shows that less than 20% of models in Europe currently offer DAB and the average cost of a DAB option remains at approximately â¬300. This slow adoption has largely been due to the fragmented approach to digital radio in Europe so far.
The importance of a single pan-European approach to digital radio also extends beyond radio listening. There are a number of vehicle manufacturers and traffic information service providers that are actively developing next-generation TPEG services (as a replacement to RDS TMC) to deliver enhanced traffic and travel information. 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.
So whilst this new French legislation is positive for the DAB industry as-a-whole, it will re-ignite questions within the automotive industry about the future of DAB in other key markets such as Germany. The automotive industry will be keen to avoid a situation in which each EU country legislate different solutions, forcing vehicle manufacturers to develop more costly country-specific strategies.