In a world first, Norway is beginning to switch off FM radio on Wednesday, with the intention of totally phasing out the technology by the end of 2017.
But there’s just one problem — the majority of Norwegians are dead against the plans.
“The main reason behind this big technological change is that we want to offer a better radio service to the entire population,” Ole Jorgen Tormark, head of Digitalradio Norge, said (via The Guardian).
The country is heavily mountainous, making it difficult to ensure its 5 million citizens can get an analogue signal. Instead, it will switch to digital audio broadcasting (DAB), which offers more stations and better coverage.
However, many people aren’t happy about the change. According to AFP, a poll found that 66% of Norwegians are against the shutdown, and just 17% support it.
Only a third of cars in the country have DAB radios, AFP reported, meaning the majority of vehicle owners face potentially costly upgrades if they want to be able to keep listening on the move. There are reportedly 15 million FM radios in Norway, all of which will become obsolete.
The shut-down is rolling out in phases. At 11.11 AM local time (10.11 AM GMT), Nordland, a county in the north of the country, switched off. All of Norway will have stopped using the analogue broadcasting method by the end of the year.
Norway may be first, but other countries are also eyeing up a switch. The UK plans to make the jump after DAB is responsible for 50% of all listening, and its coverage is similar to FM, according to the BBC — a milestone which might be reached in 2018.
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