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FCC Asks for Input on FM IBOC Power Increase

Interference to first- and second-adjacent stations is likely to be a contentious point.

More power.

Some HD Radio advocates believe it would help their technology flourish on the FM band. Others worry about its impact. The debate has a number of commercial and noncom broadcasters pushing the idea of stations hiking digital power, while NPR sounds more cautious notes.

The digital power increase proposal now is getting a closer look. The Federal Communications Commission wants public input on the feasibility of increasing FM IBOC transmitted power levels.

We’ve reported that a group of 18 broadcasters and four IBOC transmission manufacturers have asked the commission to let stations voluntarily increase FM IBOC power up to 10 dB, from the current level of 1 percent of a station’s authorized analog power (–20 dB) to a maximum of 10 percent of a station’s authorized analog power (–10 dB).

Their intent is to boost digital power levels for better building penetration and mobile and (soon) portable reception. IBiquity Digital filed studies in support of the request.

National Public Radio submitted its recently completed research on digital radio coverage and interference, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In its studies, NPR concluded that such an increase could result in interference to reception of first- and second-adjacent channel FMs; NPR argued that further testing is necessary.

The FCC seeks comment on everything involved: the original request for the power increase as well as the iBiquity and NPR studies. Comments are due Nov. 28 and replies on Jan. 4.

Comments may be filed online by accessing the ECFS or the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The docket number is MM Docket No. 99-325.

Or to file by e-mail, send an e-mail to [email protected] and include the words “get form” in the body of the message.

Radio World also invites letters to the editor on this topic, to [email protected].