A government advisory body wants listeners not the radio industry to drive the switchover – and thinks 2015 is too soon

The government has been advised that the date for the digital switchover, currently set at 2015, is "far too early" and should be revised upwards.

The Consumer Expert Group, created to advise on the digital switchover, said rushing the switch could leave large numbers of listeners without access to radio.

In its report, the CEG suggested a switchover date should only be announced when at least 70 per cent of radio listening is digital, compared to the 50% figure set in the initial switchover plans. Currently only around 25% of radio listening is via digital.

The report recommended that a full cost benefit analysis from the perspective of users should be carried out “as a matter of urgency”.

More after the break

Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, communications and the creative industries, said: “I am pleased we share the view that any switchover to digital radio should be driven by listeners.”

However Ford Ennals, the chief executive of Digital Radio UK, the organisation tasked with accelerating digital listening, denied that the report would completely overturn the government's existing switchover plans.

“What [the report] is really saying is, ‘When you're going through this transition, make sure vulnerable people are taken care of'. I think that's worth restating,” he said.

Do you think the switchover is coming too soon? Or are you ready to brace a digital radio future without FM? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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