Washington - Apr 19, 2002 - On Nov. 1, 1999, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) entitled Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems and Their Impact on the Terrestrial Broadcast Service. In the NPRM, the Commission stated its policy goals for a new terrestrial digital audio broadcasting (DAB) service, and sought comment on terrestrial in-band, on-channel (IBOC) AM and FM DAB systems and AM and FM DAB systems based on the allocation of new radio spectrum in different frequency bands. The Commission also stated in the NPRM its belief that it is necessary and appropriate to rely, to some degree, on the expertise of the private sector for DAB system evaluations, and listed the following 10 tentative selection criteria for DAB systems: 1) enhanced audio fidelity; 2) robustness to interference and other signal impairments; 3) compatibility with existing analog service; 4) spectrum efficiency; 5) flexibility; 6) auxiliary capability; 7) extensibility; 8) accommodation for existing broadcasters; 9) coverage; and 10) implementation costs/affordability of equipment.
On April 15, 2002, Ibiquity submitted its AM IBOC test results to the Commission. On April 16, 2002, the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) submitted a report from the Evaluation Working Group of the DAB Subcommittee entitled Evaluation of the iBiquity Digital Corporation (iBiquity) IBOC System, Part 2 - AM IBOC. This is the only terrestrial DAB system currently under consideration by the Commission. The NRSC report evaluates the laboratory and field testing of the Ibiquity hybrid mode AM IBOC DAB system, and contains conclusions and recommendations concerning this AM IBOC DAB system to the Commission. Both the NRSC and iBiquity filings are available electronically at www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html under MM Docket No. 99-325, or from the Commission''s duplicating contractor, Qualex International, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC, 20554, 202-863-2893.
By Public Notice, comment is sought on the NRSC report, conclusions and recommendations concerning the Ibiquity hybrid mode AM IBOC DAB system, as well as on the Ibiquity AM IBOC test results, with respect to the Commission''s stated DAB policy goals and selection criteria. Interested parties may file comments on or before June 18, 2002, and reply comments on or before July 18, 2002. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or by filing paper copies.
In addition to the AM IBOC test results now on file, some additional testing is required. The Ibiquity AM IBOC tests evaluated by NRSC were conducted using MPEG-2AAC perceptual audio coding. Ibiquity intends to use proprietary audio coding based on PAC, developed by Lucent Technologies, in its final AM IBOC DAB system, and will provide a report for evaluation containing test data for its AM IBOC DAB system using this audio coding. Also, the Ibiquity AM IBOC tests considered only AM daytime (groundwave) propagation conditions. Additional testing of the Ibiquity AM IBOC system is required to assess AM nighttime (skywave) propagation conditions. Further public comment will be solicited when the results of the additional testing are submitted to the Commission.