Austria

Last update: 29-08-2017 - older versions

Digital radio will be launched officially in the first half of 2018. A call for bids for one nationwide and regional/local multiplexes started in January 2017 and ended on June 12th 2017. The tender from local or regional terrestrial multiplex platforms for digital terrestrial broadcasting in the standard DAB+ (MUX II) is online at https://www.rtr.at/de/m/Ausschreibungen. By the end of 2017 the contract will be awarded to the applicants for the network construction by the regulator RTR and a solution to the minimum charges will be found with the collecting society AKM. Two applications have been submitted for the digital radio station network in Austria, as announced by the association Digitalradio Austria and the media authority KommAustria. ORS is now applying for eleven programs for nationwide coverage. RTG Radio Technikum GmbH is applying for the regional broadcast network in the Greater Vienna area.

Key aspects of the tender:

  • this is the call for bids for one nationwide multiplex-network with the option to regionalise and a second call for bids for additional regional/local networks (both platform + transmitter-network).
  • The network should be optimised in the use of frequencies - that means SFN.
  • The proposer needs also a concept which is involving the broadcasters for advertising of DAB+ in public
  • Selected Criterias if there is more than one candidate
    • The ensemble should be diversible in opinions and a local content is prefered against global in the case of regional/local radio stations.
    • The time for building the network is limited:
      -          nationwide: 50% of residents within one year; 75% within three years and 90% within five years.
      -          regional/local: an accumulation > 50,000 residents; 50% of residents within one year; 75%  within two years and 100% within three years.
  • The call for tenders ends on June, 12th 2017.
  • The association Digitalradio Austria is happy to provide further information for potential suppliers.

Austrian telecommunications regulator RTR has committed to provide four million euros from its digitisation fund to support the introduction of DAB+ digital radio in Austria.

ORS comm has received a DAB+ trial licence and began broadcasting DAB+ test transmissions on May 28th 2015. The trial has been supported by Digital Radio Austria (Verein Digitalradio Österreich).

Two transmitters are operating as a single frequency network, with one transmitting a 10kW signal. This test mode was originally scheduled to last 10 months from May 28th 2015. However Vienna’s DAB+ testing period has been extended by one year by media regulator KommAustria. All but one of the stations that have been on the test multiplex will continue for the entire test period, which started in May 2015 with 15 stations.

Austria is committed to a digital radio future and a report by the regulators, the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) and RTR-GmbH recommended DAB+ in Band III as the way forward. As planned, KommAustria completed a call for interest regarding DAB+ in August 2012. KommAustria intended to launch DAB+ by an open call for tender regarding the DAB+ network if enough parties showed believable and sustainable interest. A minimum limit of 12 possible programs (to fill one MUX coverage) was set. This limit was not reached as too few parties showed interest or failed to meet the criteria of the call for interest. Most remarkably, the public broadcaster ORF and the bigger players in the Austrian market did not show interest but strongly voiced their opposition against the launch of DAB+ in Austria.

There is a group of broadcasters who are very outspoken in favour of DAB+, but the majority of radio stations remain unsure. The public broadcaster ORF has recently renewed its objection to any DAB+ plans. On May 1 2013, the Regulation of the Austrian Communications Authority “Digitalisation Concept” decided that a tender procedure for multiplex mode the corresponding coverages will be launched once the authority presented a vested interest in digital radio and a sustainable approach.  There will be no further calls for interest but the possibility for a call for tender upon request.

Nevertheless a working group that was created in 2009 to consider the countries digital future is still at work. It's members are stakeholders from the Austrian radio market who represent opponents and proponents of digital radio. It consists of the regulatory authority, the public broadcaster ORF, the commercial and non-commercial broadcasters associations, the electronic industry and consumer associations. The group is constantly watching and evaluating the progress of digital radio in other European countries. The success of digital radio in Germany will have an impact on whether Austria decides to implement DAB+.

New club aims to establish digital radio in Austria

The Austrian Association of the Electrical and Electronic Industry (FEEI), the university of applied sciences FH Technikum Wien and Austrian radio stations such as Radio Arabella and LoungeFM have founded the digital radio club, Digital Radio Austria. The aim of the new organisation is the promotion and development of digital radio in Austria, developing the media category “Radio” in the digital media world, the establishment of radio on new platforms and to promote the provision of information and support for education and training in the field of electronic and new media.

Success factors for the introduction of DAB+ in Austria

It is stated at the outset that this point should not be a condition which speaks for or against a terrestrial digitisation of the radio, since this is a fundamental media policy decision - for the media and business location Austria. The following are some points that would promote the ecosystem of digital terrestrial radio:

  • Active will of the Federal Government to digitise terrestrial radio broadcasting as the last media genre, which has not yet been able to experience terrestrial digitisation in Austria. Thus securing the media and economic location of Austria in order to create non-disruptive, non-Austrian offers. Solving the frequency problem, coordinating with the neighboring countries, and the economic use of the existing broadcasting systems with an active decision for a terrestrial digitisation of the radio broadcast.
  • New programming possibilities for private radio operators. More than two programs are to be made available by an organizer. The number is intended to regulate the market and for a further development of the radio, a maximum of two programmes must be given by one organiser.
  • New possibilities for public broadcasters. In addition to the national programs of public-law audiovisual broadcasting, max. 2 other nationwide, non-regionalisable, advertising-free (!) Programs are made possible.
  • Change of ORF-G, PrR-G and AMD-G with regard to the possibilities offered by the program and service providers (programs, data, additional services, etc.).
  • Promotion of program providers from the digitisation fund for the time of the simulcast. The increase in the allocation of the digitisation fund from currently EUR 500 TSD p.a. To EUR 1.2 million p.a .. Prioritisation of the digitisation fund for the agendas of the digitisation of terrestrial radio broadcasting.
  • Compulsory equipment for newly registered vehicles from 2017 with DAB+ enabled terminals (traffic safety). The need of TPEG-Services is evident.
  • From 2017 onwards, each newly-placed radio receiver intended for terrestrial reception must be capable of receiving digital signals corresponding to a standard of a recognised European standard organisation.

Last update: 18-08-2015 - older versions

The application for a test phase will foresee one year, with the possibility of an additional second year. After this test phase, a rollout from the east to the west of Austria is intended to start.

Coverage of the trial multiplex currently on air

Coverage in the North

Coverage in the South

Coverage in the East

Coverage in the West

Last update: 06-04-2017 - older versions

In this country there is

on air.

One trial multiplex is in operation in Vienna. In Vienna the digital radio pilot project currently on air has space allocated for 17 stations. There are currently 15 DAB+ services on air. Two slots are expected to remain unused for the time being. On April 3 2017, the media authority KommAustria extended the existing digital radio test operation in Vienna and its surrounding area by another year.

 

Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB+ programmes 4 11 15

Last update: 03-02-2017 - older versions

Cum. receiver sales ~400.000 (incl. line fit automotive)

Last update: 29-08-2017 - older versions

Cum. receiver sales ~500.000 (incl. line fit automotive) since 2013.

Nearly three months after the launch of DAB+ services in Vienna, Gernot Fischer, Managing Director of Digitalradio Austria emphasised in an interview with Der Standard in August 2015 the added value of DAB+. He reported that the estimated number of receiver sales to date is approximately 255,000 (excl. internet sales and in-car receivers), thanks to the strong collaboration with retail. Read the article

 

                   DAB+ receivers available at Media Markt

 

                    DAB+ receivers available at Saturn

 

          DAB+ receivers available at Conrad

Last update: 18-05-2016 - older versions

Current Trial on air

In Vienna, DAB+ is being tested in a pilot project for ten months until 01 April 2016. The pilot project was approved by the broadcasting regulator, KommAustria. The multiplex platform operator ORS comm GmbH & Co KG is able to test transmission capacities on "VIENNA 8 (Liesing) channel 11D", "Wien 9 (DC Tower 1) channel 11D" and "Wien 8 (Liesing) channel 12B". Items which are to be tested in the pilot project are, for example, switching between two frequency blocks (11D and 12B) and their impact on the recipient.

Previous Trials

Two DAB trials ended in 2008. One began in 1999 in the capital Vienna and covered up to 1.73 million people, the other one started in 2000 in the federal state of Tyrol (two sites near the capital of Innsbruck) and covered round about 295,000 people, approximately 40% of the Tyrolian population. The two trials were run by the public broadcaster ORF, with only ORF programs transmitted. About 19% of Austria’s population was covered by a T-DAB signal.

In 2011 the network operator ORS GmbH, a 60% subsidiary of the ORF, made plans to launch a DAB+ trial in 2012 but stopped the project in autumn 2011.

The trial that ended in 2008 included three transmitters in Vienna on Channel 12B. The multiplex featured classical music, Radio Wien (local station), pop music and FM4 pop music (all by ORF). The Austrian public broadcaster ORF was also awarded a DAB digital radio trial licence for the Federal State of Tyrol. ORF set up two DAB digital radio transmitters in Tyrol, covering the Inn Valley between Kufstein and the Brenner Mountain (Channel 12C). Ö1, Ö3, FM4 and the regional station Radio Tyrol, were available on the multiplex. This meant that there was continuous DAB coverage between South Germany and Northern Italy.

These tests have taken place behind closed doors. 

 

Last update: 18-11-2015 - older versions

The market is regulated by the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) and by the Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH, RTR) that provides operational support for KommAustria.

Austria is committed to a digital radio future and a report by the regulators, the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) and RTR-GmbH recommended DAB+ in Band III as the way forward.  A working group was created in 2009 and its members are stakeholders from the Austrian radio market who represent opponents and proponents of digital radio. It consists of the regulatory authority, the public broadcaster ORF, the commercial and non-commercial broadcasters associations, the electronic industry and consumer associations. The group is watching and evaluating the progress of digital radio in other European countries. 

Last update: 18-05-2016 - older versions

The association 'Digital Radio Austria' is an initiative to develop the media genre radio, which is supported by the Association of the electrical and electronics industry, together with research institutions, private radio operators, manufacturers and dealers. The club members have set themselves the goal of establishing digital radio in Austria. For more information please visit, http://www.digitalradio-oesterreich.com/.

First speakers for Radiodays Europe 2018
19.10.2017 - Austria - Austria
The first speakers have been announced for Radiodays Europe 2018. The event, which will be held in Vienna, will have more than 120 speakers in 50+ sessions over 2 and a half days, 18-20 March 2018.
From Radiodays Europe:

Applications submitted for regional and national DAB+ in Austria
08.08.2017 - Austria - Austria
The ORF subsidiary ORS has applied for eleven nationwide programmes, while RTG Radiotechnikum is interested in regional coverage of the greater Vienna area. By end 2017 the regulator (RTR) will announce the name of the company who will operate the DAB+ network.
From Horizont:

The future of digital radio in Austria
04.08.2017 - Austria - Austria
"Radio is the only media genre that has not yet been digitized. All around Austria, everything is moving towards DAB+, for example in Hungary, Slovakia, Italy or Switzerland," explains Wolfgang Struber...
From Horizont Online:

The future of digital radio
03.08.2017 - Austria - Austria
At the Austrian Media Days, the participating parties - Verein Digitalradio (Club Digital Radio), the ORF broadcasting subsidiary ORS, the Ministry of the Media, ORF and Kronehit - will discuss the future of radio in a hybrid radio future.
From Horizont online :

Increasing the market share of RMS
07.07.2017 - Austria - Austria
In an interview with Joachim Feher, Managing Director of RMS Austria, he talks about the role of DAB+ in the digitisation of radio. "From a marketing perspectiveDAB+ makes us more attractive to the public, and makes sure we have a lot more reach on the commercial side."
From Medianet:

More DAB+ deployments planned in Austria
21.06.2017 - Austria - Austria
In Austria, it has been announced that two companies have reported their interest in the development of DAB+ networks across the country by the deadline set down by the Austrian media authority. ORS has applied to develop a national network that will provide 11 different programs, and RTG Radio technikum GmbH will develop a regional network centered in Vienna.
From Radio magazine:

Two bidders submit applications to run DAB+ multiplexes in Austria
12.06.2017 - Austria - Austria
The call for applications has closed for Austria’s national and regional DAB multiplexes. ORS is applying for 11 programs covering nationwide coverage; RTG Radiotechnikum GmbH is responsible for the regional broadband network in the greater Vienna area. Almost 85% of the population is due to be covered by DAB+ by 2020.
From APA OTS:

KommAustria: Digitalisation concept 2017
04.05.2017 - Austria - Austria
The " Digitisation Concept 2017 ", which came into force on 1 May 2017, states that the media authority KommAustria will continue to make significant contributions to the improved use of radio frequencies and the associated conversion of existing television channels in favor of mobile radio applications. A further activity of the agency remains digital radio in the DAB+ standard.
From E&W:

Digitalradio Austria: ERF boss Matthias Gerwinat replaces Gernot Fischer
03.05.2017 - Austria - Austria
Gernot Fischer has stepped down from the management of the Digitalradio Austria Association, as he is taking part in the current broadcasting network tender with the RTG company as a multiplex provider. He hands over his role to Matthias Gerwinat, Managing Director of ERF, who was unanimously elected successor by the General Meeting.
From Radioszene:

KommAustria publishes digitisation concept 2017
28.04.2017 - Austria - Austria
According to the "Digitisation Concept 2017", which will enter into force on 1 May 2017 , KommAustria is deepening its frequency planning in the establishment and expansion of digital audio broadcasting on the basis of DAB+ and is preparing the field for further calls.
From RTR:

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Key Information

Status: trial and/or regulation
Population: 8.7 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 29%
Services: 15 DAB+
Receiver sales (cumulative): 500,000 devices
Total Sales (cumulative): 500,000 devices
Penetration by household: Sparkline Graph 13%
Penetration by population: Sparkline Graph 6%
Last update: 29.08.2017

Useful Links

Digital Radio Oesterreich
Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria)
Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH
The Telekom-Control Commission - an independent authority