With the advent of internet and satellite radio, it is not a surprise that conventional terrestrial radio is finding its way out. Ofcom, Britain’s telecom regulatory authority is now mulling over shutting down the terrestrial AM and FM radios and allocating the spectrum for new digital services like Mobile TV.
This makes a lot of sense – with satellite radios like XM and Worldspace available for cars and in much smaller packages as portables, the need for a terrestrial services is slowly waning away. The only advantage that conventional radios have over internet or satellite radios is the bouquet of local information like weather, traffic updates etc., which are provided in between programs.
Re-allocating the FM/AM band for new services is a great move, as it opens up a whole new spectrum, hitherto unused for IP services. This is probably the only band across the world, which the militaries do not have a control over. So the new standards can easily get adopted in different countries without worrying about manufacturing the devices for a different band. This will also help in keeping the cost of the equipment to a minimum.
Back home, local radio from broadcasters like All India Radio are already available via satellite through DTH networks. You will not miss your Vividh Bharathi, even if TRAI decides to re-allocate AM/FM channels to mobile operators!