iBiquity digital FM finds support


iBiquity Digital's standard for digital FM radio received major
endorsements from U.S. and international technology advisory groups Thursday.

Both the U.S. National Radio Systems Committee and
189-member-country ITU urged the adoption of the company's standard for in-band,
on-channel technology.

IBOC allows analog and digital broadcasters to be transmitted simultaneously on the same frequency.

"We could not be happier," said Robert Struble, chief executive of the company. Yesterday's decisions clear the way for the FCC to seek public comment on the IBOC standard soon.

Digital radio rules are expected next year and the
commission has tentatively concluded IBOC is the way to go.

The industry is ramping up to introduce digital radio service quickly. IBOC transmission equipment is slated to be unveiled at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in April with pilot tests to be rolled out in New York City, 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.

iBiquity's investors include ABC, Clear Channel, Viacom, Harris, Lucent and Texas Instruments.
- Bill McConnell