European country becomes first to cease FM broadcasting

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The Norwegian parliament is moving the country to "radio digitization", becoming the first country in telecommunications history to cease FM broadcasting entirely.

The switch to digital broadcasting was announced in 2015 and will be implemented fully this year, starting with Nordland, a city in northern Norway.

The upgrade in technology is believed to save the country up to $25 million annually, while providing listeners with a more reliable network and clearer listening experience.

Related: Photos of climate change in Norway

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Climate change in Norway
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Climate change in Norway

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

A view of the Blomstrand Glacier, on June 16, 2016, in Ny-Alesund, Norway. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende toured the glacier, and made remarks about climate change. Kerry is visiting Norway's extreme north to view areas impacted by climate change with melting ice and the opening of new sea lanes.

(EVAN VUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunlight shines just after midnight on a fjord near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen, April 26, 2007. The sea water is normally frozen solid at this time of year but global warming may be warming the region.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Wild reindeer forage for food on the island of Spitsbergen on the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic circle as the Norwegian islands enter summer 'midnight sun' season.

(Ben Birchall/PA Archive)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende (C) make a tour of the Blomstrand Glacier on June 16, 2016, in Ny-Alesund, Norway. Kerry is visiting Norway's extreme north to view areas impacted by climate change with melting ice and the opening of new sea lanes.

(LARSEN, HOEKON MOSVOLD/AFP/Getty Images)

A reindeer walks on snow on June 4, 2010 in Ny-Alesund in the Svalbard archipelago.

(MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Dutch scientist Appy Sluijs enters a cave at the bottom of the Longyearbyen glacier April 25, 2007 which has been shrinking fast in recent years. Many experts link the thaw to global warming.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

Screen grab from video I shot shows UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon pointing towards glaciers in the distance as Kim Holmen, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute, shows the UN chief around the atmospheric measuring station in Ny-Aalesund, a climate change research station on the Norwegian island of Svalbard 0n September1, 2009. Ban is on a two-day trip to the Arctic Circle to see first-hand the effects of climate change ahead of key international climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

(JACQUELINE PIETSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

A reindeer is pictured on June 4, 2010 in Ny-Alesund in the Svalbard archipelago.

(MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

The sun shines low in the sky just after midnight over a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen, April 26, 2007. The sea water is normally frozen solid at this time of year but global warming may be warming the region.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

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The country will move county by county in dropping FM broadcasting, a process that is not foreseen to be completed nationwide until early Early December this year.

"Digitizing the radio media is part of the modernization of Norway," said Oyvind Vasaasen, an official at the country's national broadcaster, NRK.

Overseeing the switch, Vasaasen says it is too expensive to provide both FM and digital broadcasting nationwide. And though FM broadcasting first arrived in Norway in the 1950s, Vasaasen says the country began introducing digital introducing digital as early as 1995.

SEE ALSO: France Becomes First Country To Completely Ban Plastic Cups, Plates

"The costs of maintaining an upgraded FM system would in the long run affect the quality of programs we can offer the listeners," Vasaasen told the New York Times.

Still, others remain skeptical of the country's haste to tuning out FM signals, an effect that impact millions of homes and up to an estimated 20 million analog receivers in the country of 5 million.

Norwegian-based Dr. Benjamin Stage Storm feels that the government is spending a "vast amount of resources on shutting down a functional system and at the same time pushing lots of people into scrapping their otherwise well-working radios."

However, though other countries — Britain, Switzerland and Denmark, in particular — are considering closing down FM networks, neither country has yet announced a decision.

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