iBiquity Digital Corporation and NPR announced an agreement for managing an HD Radio™ power increase that will significantly improve reception of HD Radio signals.
The two organizations are jointly presenting their recommendations to the FCC today and encouraging the Commission to move to adopt the power increase quickly.
The agreement proposes that the Commission authorize a blanket 6 dB increase for all commercial and non-commercial radio stations’ digital power from the current level of -20 dBc to a power level of -14 dBc; this is four times the current power level.
NPR and iBiquity consulted with a broad spectrum of commercial and noncommercial stations over the last few weeks, and identified several conditions and criteria to manage the power increase process. These conditions were informed by NPR Labs recent field research, “Advanced IBOC Coverage and Compatibility Study,” filed with the Commission earlier this week.
Conditions of the blanket increase included commitment by iBiquity and NPR to additional enhancements to the HD Radio™ system. The development work of the two organizations will focus on single frequency networks to fill gaps in digital coverage, asymmetrical digital sidebands to reduce the potential for digital interference to short spaced first adjacent analog stations, and low bitrate codecs and conditional access crucial to moving radio reading services into the mainstream of digital radio broadcasting.
Notably, the two organizations offered an approach to additional power increases beyond a 6 dB increase, depending on spacing criteria and conditions that limit harmful interference, and initial models suggest most stations will be able to exceed 6 dB.
The agreement also proposes a series of steps drawn from the current AM rules for interference to be applied to qualifying and limiting harmful interference with analog at the 6 dB increase level (-14 dBc). These steps would remediate harmful interference from any stations increasing power above the existing -20 dBc power level.