The BBC has announced that its BBC Radio Devon unit is set to launch a trial using digital radio mondiale technology, in what will represent the first UK trial of medium wave digital radio.
The trial, which lasts for a year, will re-use a current medium-wave frequency in the Plymouth area (855MW) to broadcast Radio Devon as a digital service. An audience panel of 100 people has been recruited from listeners to Radio Devon and users of bbc.co.uk/devon. Members of the panel have been given radios which are capable of receiving digital radio mondiale (DRM), as well as the existing FM and DAB transmissions.
DRM is an emerging technology that has been designed to facilitate digital radio at frequencies below 30MHz. The BBC already uses this technology to broadcast short wave transmissions of the World Service to some parts of western Europe and North Africa.
The BBC intends to conduct research with the Radio Devon panel over the coming year to explore their experience of DRM and help inform its future digital radio strategy.
The BBC is working with transmission provider National Grid Wireless in this trial. National Grid Wireless will be supplying, commissioning and operating the transmission equipment needed for the trial, as well as assisting in the engineering measurement of the transmissions and validation of the results.
The two companies intend to publish the results of the trial by the middle of 2008.