FCC moving on digital radio - Broadcasting & Cable

FCC moving on digital radio

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The Federal Communications Commission took the next step toward creating a
standard for digital radio Wednesday by asking for public comment on in-band,
on-channel technology developed by iBiquity Digital Corp.

Both the U.S. National Radio Systems Committee and the 189-member-country
International Telecommunications Union endorsed the technology earlier this
month.

The company's standard -- which allows digital and traditional analog signals
to be transmitted simultaneously on the same frequency -- is the only
digital-radio technology under consideration by the FCC.

Comments are due Feb. 19; replies March 21.

The industry is ramping up to introduce digital-radio service.

IBOC (in-band on-channel) transmission equipment will be unveiled at the
National Association of Broadcasters' convention in April, with pilot tests to
be rolled out in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and
Miami in the second half of 2002.

High-end consumer receivers are expected to be unveiled in 2003. Boom-box and
'Walkman' versions will be rolled out as chip prices fall enough to get
digital-radio prices under $100.

Investors in iBiquity include ABC, Clear Channel Communications Inc., Viacom
Inc., Harris Corp., Lucent Technologies and Texas Instruments
Inc.

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