Mexico's Telecom Regulator Submits HD Radio as Voluntary Standard

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According to an iBiquity press release, Mexico's ComisiĆ³n Federal de Telecomunicaciones (COFETEL) has submitted documentation to Mexico's regulatory oversight body (COFEMER) recommending that HD Radio be adopted as a voluntary national standard for digital radio within existing AM and FM radio services. Unlike the FCC's rulemaking process in the United States, COFETEL must submit its policy decisions to COFEMER for final review and integration into Mexico's federal code of regulations.

Despite the fact that industry observers have considered the decision a foregone conclusion for some time, a final adoption of the policy by COFEMER could help iBiquity to build additional marketing cache by referring to its proprietary IBOC technology as a "multi-national standard."

The document approved by COFETEL's commissioners contains a transition plan for IBOC technology similar to that drafted by the FCC in the United States. Principal stipulations include:

  • Voluntary use by AM and FM licensees.
  • Hybrid (analog with digital) mode operation only
  • Primary-channel digital audio must be a simulcast of analog programming
  • Optional multicasting, as practical

    The telecom regulator noted that its recommendation would not preclude further trials and potential adoption of alternate digital radio technology (i.e., DRM 30) for use in spectrum other than AM and FM broadcast, such as the HF broadcast bands.

    COFETEL will reportedly consult with COFEMER during the final adoption process.

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