Today, Norway becomes the first country in the world to pull the plug on FM radio. The move away from the 83-year-old technology toward digital signals is not without controversy; Many say the switch is premature, since more than 2 million cars don’t have DAB receivers and thus won’t be able to tune into critical weather and safety updates. Still, the Norwegian government is proceeding with the plan and other European countries are expected to follow suit soon. But why kill FM radio? There are a few reasons.
Digital is cheaper. Norway expects to save 2 million krone (more than $23 million) per year by abandoning its aging FM infrastructure.
It sounds better. Digital audio offers better quality without all the fuzziness between stations.
More stations. Digital allows for more stations. Norway only has five stations on FM, compared to 26 on DAB.
Better coverage. Norway’s geography–rich in mountains and valleys–makes it harder for FM signals to reach everybody (and more onerous to update the old analog infrastructure). Digital audio has better reach.