Someone who attends NRSC meetings believes the FCC should rescind its IBOC rules until Ibiquity reveals more technical information about its IBOC system.
Specifically, Jonathan Hardis states in his petition filed with the commission, “During the course of this proceeding, Ibiquity changed their IBOC system and reneged on a vital commitment made in their original Petition for Rulemaking, to provide a complete technical specification.”
He was referring to Ibiquity’s change of codecs — from the originally specified AAC; to PAC, which wasn’t used because of audio quality reasons; and finally to HDC, developed with Coding Technologies.
When the NRSC developed technical specifications for IBOC (dubbed NRSC-5), it left out details of the codec, as RW reported at the time. Ibiquity said then it couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal those details because to do so would expose trade secrets and that there’s enough transparency in the information to give manufacturers what they need to know to be able to make equipment for IBOC.
The NRSC said at the time that finalizing the spec without the codec wasn’t ideal, but was preferable to not developing a technical specification at all.
In his petition, Hardis says he brought up these issues two years ago to the commission and is doing so again because he believes it needs to be resolved.
“Neither permanent nor continued interim authorization is warranted until the secrecy issue is resolved,” states Hardis in the filing. “Ibiquity and its partners need to be sent the clear message that we expect better of them — promises made to the FCC and to the public are promises made to be kept.”
Hardis represents the National Institute of Standards and Technology on the NRSC, but he filed his petition as an individual. Typically government members abstain from voting on the NRSC and attend meetings more as observers, I’ve been told.
Journalists are not allowed into NRSC meetings so we don’t know the specifics of internal debate over this topic; but it was a heated issue at the time I was covering it outside the NRSC’s doors. I don’t see the FCC undoing the IBOC rollout over this because it seems satisfied with the information Ibiquity has released at this point.