FCC Seeks Comments on NRSC IBOC Report


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Washington - Dec 19, 2001 - The FCC issued the following Public Notice:

On November 1, 1999, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) entitled Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems and Their Impact on the Terrestrial Broadcast Service, 15 FCC Rcd 1722 (1999). [see Note 1] 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 December 3, 2001, the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC), sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association, submitted a report from the Evaluation Working Group of the DAB Subcommittee of the NRSC entitled Evaluation of the iBiquity Digital Corporation (iBiquity) IBOC System, Part I - FM IBOC. [see Note 2] This is the only terrestrial DAB system currently under consideration by the Commission. The NRSC report evaluates the extensive laboratory and field testing of the iBiquity hybrid mode [see Note 3] FM IBOC DAB system, and contains conclusions and recommendations concerning this FM IBOC DAB system to the Commission. On December 6, 2001, iBiquity submitted its FM IBOC test results 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 this Public Notice, comment is sought on the NRSC report, conclusions, and recommendations concerning the iBiquity hybrid mode FM IBOC DAB system, as well as on the iBiquity FM IBOC test results, with respect to the Commission’s stated DAB policy goals and selection criteria. Interested parties may submit comments on or before February 19, 2002, and reply comments on or before March 21, 2002. Comments and replies should specifically reference this Public Notice. Comments and reply comments may be filed electronically at www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html, or on paper (an original and four copies) with the Commission’s Secretary, Magalie Roman Salas, Federal Communications Commission, 236 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Suite 110, Washington, DC, 20002.

In addition to the extensive test results now on file, some additional testing is required. The iBiquity FM IBOC tests evaluated by NRSC were conducted using MPEG-2AAC perceptual audio coding. IBiquity reportedly intends to use proprietary audio coding based on PAC, developed by Lucent Technologies, in its final FM IBOC DAB system, and will provide, in the near future, a report for evaluation containing test data for its FM IBOC DAB system using this audio coding. In addition, iBiquity currently is designing, and represents that it will soon complete further testing, to determine the potential impact of FM hybrid mode operations on the reception of analog subcarrier transmissions. Additional public comment will be solicited when the results of this testing are submitted to the Commission. [see Note 4]

Ex parte status: This is a "permit-but-disclose" rule making proceeding. See Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems and Their Impact on the Terrestrial Broadcast Service, 15 FCC Rcd at 1745 (1999).

"Permit-but-disclose" ex parte procedures permit interested parties to make ex parte presentations to the Commissioners and Commission employees and require that these presentations be disclosed in the record of the relevant proceeding. Persons making a written ex parte presentation to the Commissioners or Commission employees must file the written presentation with the Commission, as set forth below, no later than the next business day after the presentation. See 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(1). Persons making oral ex parte presentations must file a summary of the presentation, as set forth below, and deliver copies to the Commissioners or Commission employees involved with the presentation no later than the next business day after the presentation. See 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(2). All ex parte filings must be clearly labeled as such and must reference this Public Notice, as well as any other applicable docket or file numbers.

An original and one copy of all ex parte memoranda must be filed with the Commission's Secretary, Magalie Roman Salas, Federal Communications Commission, 236 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Suite 110, Washington, DC, 20002, in accordance with 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(1). In addition, one copy of each ex parte memorandum should be delivered to each of the following locations: (1) the Commission's duplicating contractor, Qualex International, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC, 20554, 202-863-2893; and (2) Peter H. Doyle, Mass Media Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 2-B450, Washington, DC, 20554. Copies of the reports and any subsequently filed documents in this matter may be obtained electronically at www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html , and on paper from Qualex International. The reports and all subsequently filed documents also will be available for public inspection and copying during normal business hours in the Commission's Reference Information Center located at 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC, 20554.

Note 1: The NPRM is available electronically at under MM Docket No. 99-325.

Note 2: Ibiquity was formed by the merger of FM IBOC DAB system proponents Lucent Technologies Inc. and USA Digital Radio, Inc.

Note 3: During FM hybrid mode operations, broadcasters simultaneously transmit analog and digital signals within their authorized emission masks.

Note 4: The laboratory and field testing of the iBiquity hybrid mode AM IBOC DAB system has not been completed. Following iBiquity’s completion of the hybrid mode AM IBOC tests, the test results will be submitted to the NRSC for evaluation. Additional public comment will be solicited when the NRSC report evaluating the iBiquity AM IBOC DAB system is submitted to the Commission.



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