Decisions taken on future of the FM Band

  • Paul Swain
Communications and Information Technology

Communications Minister Paul Swain and Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs today announced decisions on the future of the FM radio broadcasting band.

"The decisions are important for ensuring that New Zealanders can access the full range of radio services they want and will make an important contribution to the achievement of our public broadcasting objectives," the Ministers said.

The decisions confirm preliminary proposals for using frequencies in the upper FM band (100-108 MHz) outlined in the public discussion document released by the Ministers in August this year.

After carefully considering the submissions received on the discussion document, the government has given priority to reserving frequencies for:

·National Radio – to be broadcast on FM;
·Concert FM – to migrate to a designated group of frequencies in the upper FM band;
·Maori radio – to enable the establishment of a national programme for the promotion of Maori language and culture; and
·Pacific Island radio – for the establishment of a national programme to enable Pacific peoples’ cultures and languages to be heard.

"Proposals for the delivery of these programmes are currently being worked on and will be considered by the government prior to the licensing of the reserved frequencies," Marian Hobbs said. "This is expected to be completed by April next year."

How to use the remainder of the 100-108 MHz band and frequencies freed-up by the relocation of National Radio and Concert FM will be considered further over the next few months. Policy proposals for a co-ordinated approach to low power broadcasting in the FM band will also be prepared.

"The submissions on the discussion document highlighted a broad range of groups and individuals wanting to use FM frequencies to provide a variety of new and enhanced broadcasting services," Paul Swain said.

"Additional frequencies will be available for use in some areas of New Zealand after provision for the four priority programmes has been made. The next phase of work involves identifying how these should be allocated to best meet the needs of local communities."

Further decisions about the future of the FM band are expected in April next year.