The U.K. commercial radio sector has reacted positively to a government plan to upgrade the country to digital by 2015.

The proposal was contained in the Digital Britain report, which has given the industry a government endorsement of the DAB platform as the future of radio.

"The biggest barrier to radio's digital future is a lack of clarity and commitment to the DAB platform," notes the June 16 report.

However, it added that businesses will invest in DAB and consumers will embrace it if government plays a "pivotal role in securing... certainty" about the platform.

The report identified the necessary criteria for the upgrade - when national and local DAB multiplexes will cease broadcasting on analog - as being when 50% of listening is digital and when national DAB coverage is comparable to FM. At present, 32% of adults live in a DAB-enabled household, according to the report.

"At the heart of our vision is the delivery of a digital radio upgrade program by the end of 2015," the report states. For that to happen, the criteria would need to be in place by 2013.

"For radio to flourish in the digital age we require a digital strategy and, on first inspection, we are encouraged that Digital Britain sets out a clear roadmap for our industry's future," said Andrew Harrison, chief executive for trade body RadioCentre, in a statement. "Clearly, implementation of that roadmap is now a priority for RadioCentre alongside all the industry stakeholders.

"We think that Digital Britain is right to identify a target date of 2015 to upgrade our sector to digital radio whilst also recognising the importance of meeting key criteria to trigger switchover and the need for intervention to drive the behavior of manufacturers, the motor industry and other stakeholders. This will enable our members to plan and invest for their future; we now have a firm consensus that digital is the route forward for radio's future."

The government also pledges to work with car manufacturers so that vehicles sold with a radio are digitally enabled by the end of 2013.

The Digital Britain report also notes that digital radio is "not now, nor should it be in the future, a single platform medium," and the Internet and mobile broadband will also have a role.