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Mexico Approves HD Radio Country-Wide

Regulatory process complete; iBiquity looking to accelerate roll-out across the country

Four months after we reported that Mexico’s spectrum regulating authority COFETEL was considering allowing HD Radio use in the entire country, the regulatory process is complete and broadcasters can now use both AM and FM HD Radio technology on a voluntary basis on both commercial and non-commercial stations anywhere in Mexico. The country began allowing stations to use HD Radio within 200 miles of the U.S. border in 2007.

The decision bodes well for an eventual common digital radio standard in North America, believes iBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble, citing the importance of Mexico’s economy in that development. Indeed, we’ve reported that automakers and receiver manufacturers would prefer a common digital radio platform to lower design, manufacturing and marketing costs in North America.

The Mexican approval was published in that country’s version of the Federal Register on June 16. In a press conference, Mexican President Felipe Calderon invited broadcasters to “to invest in your radio stations, and to take advantage of these new conditions that have just been created, to bring to our country the very latest technology that will allow you to offer much better radio to all Mexicans,” according to a translation provided by iBiquity.

It’s important to note that COFETEL approved HD Radio as “a” digital radio standard, not “the” digital radio standard, leaving open the door for another technology to potentially be approved.

IBiquity is working with transmission manufacturers and receiver manufacturers to accelerate the HD rollout in Mexico. It will be interesting to see how many stations there implement the technology and if other countries with large populations in the Americas, like Brazil, follow Mexico’s lead and adopt HD Radio.

— Leslie Stimson