FCC Approves HD Radio Power Increase!
Friday, January 29th, 2010
Media Bureau Adopts Order to Modify FM Digital Audio
Broadcasting Technical Rules to Expand Digital Coverage
Washington, DC: The Federal Communication Commission’s Media Bureau adopted an Order that permits FM radio stations to voluntarily increase digital power levels up to ten percent of analog power levels and establishes interference mitigation and remediation procedures to promptly resolve complaints of interference to analog stations. These rule changes will substantially boost digital signal coverage while safeguarding analog reception against interference from higher power digital transmissions.
In 2002, the Commission adopted the in-band on-channel digital audio broadcasting system developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation (“iBiquity”) as the de facto standard for FM station digital operations. Stations are currently permitted to transmit digitally at one percent of analog power. In June 2008, iBiquity, 18 group owners of 1200 radio stations and four major radio equipment manufacturers requested that the Commission increase digital power levels by 10 dB, i.e., to ten percent of analog power levels. Both iBiquity and National Public Radio have submitted detailed studies assessing the potential for improved digital service and increased interference to analog reception.
The Bureau Order will:
- Permit most FM stations to immediately increase digital power by 6 dB, a four-fold power increase;
- Limit power increases for stations currently licensed in excess of class maximums, i.e., “super-powered” stations, to protect analog radio service from interference;
- Establish application procedures for power increases up to 10 dB;
- Establish interference remediation procedures that require the Media Bureau to resolve each bona fide dispute or impose tiered power reductions within 90 days; and
- Reserve the right to revisit the issue of digital power levels if significant interference results to analog reception.
Action by the Media Bureau, January 27, 2010 by Order (DA 10-208). Docket 99-325.