Archived—Gazette Notice SMBR-001-07

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Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. SMBR-001-07 — Experimental Authorizations for Hybrid Digital Radio (IBOC) in the FM Band

The Department continues its commitment to afford Canadians the highest quality and variety of broadcasting services. At this time, the Department is of the view that experimentation with hybrid digital radio (IBOC) broadcasting would be beneficial to Canadian broadcasters and to the Canadian public.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced hybrid in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio in both the FM and AM bands. Over 1 300 FM stations have been authorized to broadcast digital radio. These are all provisional operations, as the FCC has not yet enacted a permanent set of rules and procedures. On the consumer side, digital receivers are available at major U.S. retailers.

The Department is now prepared to consider applications for experimental hybrid digital radio authorizations for existing FM radio broadcasting undertakings in Canada. At this time, it has been decided not to extend experimental authorizations to AM undertakings, as this would be premature.

Specific information on the general procedure to be followed in the submission of an application for an experimental authorization can be found in the Department's Broadcasting Circular BC-1, entitled AM, FM and TV Broadcasting Process, dated 1993. This can be found at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01079.html.

In addition to the above, the applicant shall file the following with the Department:

1) a document containing the technical characteristics of the digital radio system.

This document shall include the following: city, transmitter location, call-sign, frequency, transmitter model, hybrid mode type (standard or extended), analogue and digital radio power and complete antenna specifications.

2) a description of the proposed digital coverage, if this differs significantly from the approved analogue coverage area.

The applicant shall also notify all Canadian stations operating on the first-adjacent channel that are short-spaced relative to the analogue operation of the FM station.

On the basis of the information provided and after internal evaluation, the Department will decide if an experimental authorization is to be granted. If granted, this will be published on the Department's website, for access by the general public.

Should the experimental broadcasting operation cause harmful interference, the broadcaster is to co-operate with the Department to take immediate remedial action. This could extend from reducing power or altering its radiation pattern, to a complete shut-down of the experiment.

Applicants are advised that CRTC approval is also required in order to operate a programming undertaking, including an experimental operation.

Future Actions

Should these experiments prove successful, Industry Canada will work with the public and private broadcasting industry to develop the required technical regulations in order to accommodate hybrid digital radio on a more permanent basis.

Obtaining Copies

Copies of this notice and documents referred herein to are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.

Official printed copies of Canada Gazette notices can be obtained from the Canada Gazette Web site at: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/index-eng.html or by calling the sales counter of Canadian Government Publishing at 613-941-5995 or 1 800 635-7943.

October 12, 2007



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R.W. McCaughern
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch