Brazil Submits Data to ITU as it Weighs Digital Radio Standards

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Brazil's Communications Ministry has submitted preliminary data to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regarding its recent testing of DRM technology in the MW, HF and VHF band. The tests, reportedly performed in the cities of Sao Paolo and Belo Horizonte, are part of a national initiative to determine what type of digital radio technology is best suited for South America's most populous and prosperous nation.

Among the contenders for a Brazilian standard are iBiquity's hybrid IBOC digital systems as well as DRM 30 for MF/HF and DRM+ for band III VHF. Telecom officials there recently suggested that they do not intend to allocate new spectrum to radio, so systems under consideration must be able to fit within channel plans in existing allocations.

Because of the country's enormous landmass, which includes many thousands of villages and towns in isolated regions, DAB multiplex technology is seen as less attractive than single station/single transmitter solutions. The nation's equatorial placement also means that HF frequencies in the so-called tropical bands below 5MHz are still important in achieving the kind of coverage needed for regional broadcast services, so it's possible that different standards will be specified in different bands.

Published reports indicate that Brazil could make an announcement regarding national standards before the end of 2010, although some broadcasters have called upon regulators to allow more time and public forums to consider the matter.

More documents concerning DRM testing are slated for with ITU later this year.

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