Ofcom testing DAB+ services in England

DAB+ tests going under the name of “Brighton Experimental” along with seagul noises are now on-air in Brighton, England.

The service, operated by the UK’s Office of Communications appears to be two DAB+ channels with a loop of announcements on each one titled BEX6 and BEX7.

The streams are at 88.0kBit/s and are thought to be operated by a local Ofcom engineer and are given a subtitle of DABv2 and DABv2KMx. It is thought they will be on-air till February 4th 2013.

The on-air announcement says: “This is Brighton Experimental; a transmission licensed by the Office of Communications for the testing of new developments in digital radio technology. For any enquires about this transmission, please call 0207 783 4021”

Ofcom has not announced any plans for DAB+, which is an upgraded version of the currently supported DAB transmission platform.

We’ve got our own DAB+ tests taking place in Ireland at the moment, with Total Broadcast Consultants currently running a multiplex with six services in DAB+.

They are being operated from sites in Waterford City and a high site in the Blackstairs Mountains, providing coverage in Co. Wexford, Co. Carlow, Co. Kilkenny and East Co. Waterford.

DAB is not forward compatible with DAB+, which means that DAB-only receivers are not be able to receive DAB+ broadcasts. DAB+ is approximately twice as efficient as DAB due to the adoption of the AAC+ audio codec, and DAB+ can provide high quality and more robust audio with as low as 64 kbit/s.

DAB+ broadcasts have launched in several countries including Switzerland, Malta, Ireland, Italy, Australia and Germany. Malta was the first country to launch DAB+ in Europe.

An announcement on the future of FM and DAB is expected by the UK Government by the end of this year.

A local listener has recorded the loop for five minutes in the video below:

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