Archived — Notice No. SMBR-003-98

Industry Canada

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. SMBR – 003 – 98 — Adoption of a Standard for Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) in FM Broadcasting

Industry Canada announces the adoption of the Radio Broadcast Data System standard (RBDS) of the US National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) for FM broadcasting transmissions in Canada. The NRSC is a committee of the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

As a result of the present Notice, the NRSC standard becomes the sole standard for RBDS in Canada. Also, the 57 kHz sub-carrier is reserved solely for RBDS (54.6–59.4 kHz in the FM baseband). Broadcasting Procedures and Rules, Part 3 (BPR-3) will be modified to reflect this adoption.

Implementation of RBDS by FM broadcasting undertakings is voluntary.


The NRSC issued a voluntary transmission standard for RBDS using the 57 kHz sub-carrier of FM broadcasting stations (United States RBDS Standard, April 1998). A compatible RBDS sub-carrier system has been in use in many European countries for some years.

On March 14th 1998, the Department issued a gazette Notice (SMBR-001-98) expressing its intention to adopt the RBDS standard of the NRSC for FM broadcasting transmissions in Canada. The Notice invited the public to comment on the proposal within sixty day from the date of the publication of the Notice. The Department received no concerns or negative comments on the proposal.

RBDS allows the broadcaster to transmit data to new RBDS-capable FM receivers. The data will offer listeners a visual display identifying the station, the program format, the location, as well as, traffic and emergency messages. Other consumer features, such as program format scanning, can also be provided by the technology.

Applications that are not Related to Broadcasting

The RBDS data stream has provisions for third-party communication services such as radio paging and alphanumeric data transmission using RBDS transmission capacity. These transmissions are authorized under the Radiocommunication Act and Radiocommunication Regulations and are subject to the authorization fee as outlined by "Licensing Radiocommunication Systems Using FM Subsidiary Communication Multiplex Operation (FM/SCMO) or Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) Installations" (CPC-2-1-03) and to any requirements under the Telecommunications Act. The minimum policy provisions for the use of SCMO services in FM broadcasting are outlined in the spectrum policy document entitled "Spectrum Policy Provisions to Permit the Use of Digital Radio Broadcasting Installations to Provide Non-Broadcasting Services (SP-1452)"

Copies of the NRSC standard for RBDS can be obtained from:

1771 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-2891 USA
Phone Number:

An electronic version of this gazette Notice is available at the following WWW internet site: for the English version and for the French version.

For further inquiry, contact Jack Dadourian: at 613-990-4953 or e-mail to

Dated at Ottawa,

R.W. McCaughern
Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch

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