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India May Allocate FM-Band “White Spaces” to DRM Digital Radio

The open ITU-R standard DRM was already adopted and on air nation-wide in India on the AM band

NEW DELHI � The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Feb. 1 published recommendations on the transition from analog to digital radio broadcasting services, without disruption of existing FM radio services.

�The document shows the benefits and potential of digital radio for all current and future broadcasters in the FM band (VHF band-II). The auction of frequency allotments of 200 kHz bandwidth,?within the existing spectrum configuration, is seen as a good way to enable and promote digital broadcasting,� writes �This approach enhances the overall capacity of the FM band by inserting the new digital radio transmissions in the gaps between existing analog FM stations, innovatively using spectrum that otherwise would be wasted. With this approach the current analog transmissions as well as the Phase-III FM roll-out are protected.�

The open ITU-R standard DRM was already adopted and on air nation-wide in India on the AM band. Within the 200 kHz segments in the VHF band II, DRM transmissions can carry up to 6 audio services along with a large number of advanced added-value services such as traffic updates,? and free-to-air multilingual text information based on Journaline. It is hoped that a larger number of additional radio services within the VHF band-II will increase the overall listenership by addressing so far underserved niche audiences. DRM-based services may then fulfill the aspirations of the private FM broadcasters, community radio stations, government, as well as of all the Indian radio listeners.

�We are also encouraged by the recommendation that the government should grant fiscal incentives for the first three years to manufacturers of digital radio receivers, a necessary and welcome step for making digitization a reality,� says �Already today India has developed into an international center of excellence with regards to DRM receiver technology, from chipsets to radio sets to automotive receivers.�