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TRAI Calls for Suggestions on Digital Radio Transition

Consultation paper issued to private FM radio broadcasters on digital transition

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking to encourage a digital transition for radio and as a result has issued a consultation paper for private FM radio operators.

The consultation paper seeks comments from the industry on various aspects of digital radio broadcasts. All India Radio, the state-owned broadcaster that operates 420 AM and FM stations, is currently the only radio broadcaster in the country making moves toward digital radio.

There are approximately 293 radio stations in the country that are owned by private radio broadcasters in the FM frequency band.

TRAI highlights that digital radio is more efficient and offers fewer operational restrictions than analog, including the ability to air three to four programs on a single frequency, compared to one on analog.

In the consultation paper, TRAI asks for suggestions and comments on things like whether there is a need to encourage or facilitate the introduction of digital radio? Is there a need to create a roadmap for migration to digital radio? Should a transition date be declared? And should single digital radio technology be adopted for the entire country or should broadcasters have a choice?

Stakeholders have been asked to respond to these questions and more by Sept. 4, with counter-comments, if any, due by Sept. 18.