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FCC Seeks Input on TIS Filter Change

NAB/SBE proposal would relax filter regulations from 3 to 5 kHz

Last summer, the FCC updated several facets of its rules governing Travelers’ Information Stations and is now seeking public input on another planned change.

TIS operators transmit noncommercial, travel-related information over AM frequencies to motorists in a local area. The commission created the service in 1977 and authorized stations to operate on 530 kHz on a primary basis and on a secondary basis in the 535–1705 kHz band.

The commission clarified that AMBER and Silver Alerts are permissible on such stations, for example and spelled out what other content is okay.

The agency also proposed deleting requiring the filtering of TIS audio frequencies above 3 kHz; commenters have told the agency that filtering makes it harder to hear the TIS broadcasts while adding little to interference protection of commercial AM stations, we reported.

The NAB and SBE pushed back, proposing instead that the filter requirement be preserved but relaxed from 3 kHz to 5 kHz. A bump to 5 kHz would make the voice sound better, NAB/SBE argued, while still providing reasonable protection to nearby AM services, according to the FHH blog.

Five kilohertz seems like a good compromise, without substantially increasing the interference risk, reasons FHH.

The agency is asking for comment on the effect such a change might have, including implementation questions. Comments are due to PS Docket 09-19 by May 16 and replies by June 2.