Their combined population is nearly 1.3 billion people. So decisions by Russia and India to adopt the DRM digital radio standard for short- and medium-wave transmission should help advance the technology worldwide.
Indian state broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) annouced its decision in March following a series of extensive trials of DRM beginning in 2007. The technology was also highlighted in a dedicated session at the BES Expo International Conference, held in Delhi in late February.
AIR currently airs regular DRM transmissions from a 250 kW shortwave transmitter near New Delhi, and it is in the process of converting four other shortwave transmitters to DRM by the end of March. The broadcaster also plans to add 78 medium-wave transmitters operating in DRM to its national network over the next five years.
In Russia, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies issued an order in late January opening multiple short- and medium-wave frequencies up to DRM broadcasts. Russia began testing the system in April 2006.
Given the combined population of the two countries, these decisions should give manufacturers and impetus to speed the development and introduction of affordable DRM receivers.
The Digital Radio Mondiale system is designed for digital transmission of voice and associated data services at frequencies below 30 MHz.
In the wake of these announcements, the DRM Consortium plans to unveil its next developments in the DRM family at its annual General Assembly, which will be held March 26–27 at Fraunhofer IIS headquarters in Erlangen, Germany.
In addition to discussing the India and Russia decisions, the DRM General Assembly will assess the standardization plans for DRM+, an expansion of DRM technology that brings DRM features to the FM bands with CD-quality sound.
At the assembly, scientists and experts involved in the development of DRM+ will explain how DRM+ will complete the DRM family and make it a total solution for broadcasters worldwide. An independently commissioned business case study for DRM+ will be unveiled at the event, too.
Ruxandra Obreja, chairperson of the DRM Consortium and controller of business development for the BBC World Service, stated: “I am excited and encouraged by the developments in India and Russia with their huge broadcasting networks and where DRM implementation will give radio a new and exciting ‘digital’ lease of life. The DRM General Assembly is well-timed to discuss the implication of this roll-out and that of DRM+, expected to join the family of openly-available worldwide DRM standards later this year.”