IBOC Rules Pass FCC Vote
March 22, 2007 at 10:53 AM (PT)
The FCC voted for final authorization for IBOC (In-Band On-Channel) at its public meeting today (3/22).
The decision, when it takes effect, would allow all AMs to go digital at night. Audio Division Chief PETER DOYLE told RW ONLINE there would be a procedure established to handle interference issues, should those occur. The decision also gives a green light to multicasting, so broadcasters no longer need to apply for experimental authority to multicast.
The digital conversion is not mandated and the item allows for FM translators, boosters and LPFMs, if technically feasible, to go IBOC as well.
The vote was 5-0. Democratic commissioners objected to portions of the rule, but voted for the item. Democrats MICHAEL COPPS and JONATHAN ADELSTEIN wanted to establish whether additional public interest obligations should apply to the digital channels and to multicast channels used for subscriptions channels in particular. The FCC is seeking comments on this item.
All the commissioners called the digital radio vote historic, and Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL noted that his colleagues really could have had the rules down at last JULY’s meeting.
NAB, iBiquity Comment
NAB CEO DAVID K. REHR quickly commented, "NAB applauds Chairman MARTIN and his FCC colleagues for taking a significant step today in advancing the already budding HD Radio technology. As HD Radio expands across America, we are hopeful the Commission recognizes the unique role played by local radio and the considerable public service contributions voluntarily made by stations within their communities."
And iBIQUITY DIGITAL Pres./CEO BOB STRUBLE said, "iBIQUITY DIGITAL commends the FCC for its decision today to authorize the use of two additional HD Radio services -- multicasting and datacasting -- and allow AM HD Radio stations to begin nighttime broadcasting. Today's decision reinforces the Commission's support for the HD Radio system and provides automakers, broadcasters, receiver manufacturers and retailers with the certainty of formal adoption of critical HD Radio services. We anticipate this action will also prompt a surge of activity from companies in each of these industries as they look to capitalize on the continuing momentum of the HD Radio rollout."