The FCC has requested public comment on the proposal (about which we wrote here) to increase the power of the digital radio transmissions from 1 per cent of a primary station’s power to 10 per cent of that station’s power. The proposal to increase power for stations using the HD Radio system is supposed to help overcome reception issues, especially in buildings and in areas with terrain obstacles. The Commission pointed to the discrepancy between that request, which minimized problems that would occur from such a power increase in HD Radio’s In Band On Channel digital operation, and the report issued by National Public Radio (about which we wrote here) that suggested that such a power increase would result in significant interference. This proposal may well divide FM broadcasters between those who feel that it is more important to increase power to help digital broadcasts penetrate buildings and other obstacles, and those who fear that this increased power will interfere with their analog operations – particularly affecting stations operating on channels adjacent to stronger stations operating in digital or with a fringe signal in their target market. Comments are due November 28, and replies on January 4. As with any proposal on radio’s digital conversion, this is bound to be controversial.
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