Mexico approving HD Radio


Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Commission of Mexico (COFETEL) has approved iBiquity Digital’s IBOC HD Radio technology as that country’s digital standard for AM and FM broadcasters. The document approved by the COFETEL commissioners contains a policy for transition to the technology very much like in the U.S: AM and FM station licensees can voluntarily add HD Radio. The IBOC standard will be used in hybrid mode, maintaining the continuity of analog service and avoiding interference with other services. Multicast channels will also be allowed (HD-2, HD-3).

COFETEL did mention the decision regarding the voluntary use of IBOC does not prevent the continued evaluation of other broadcasting technologies in other bands of frequencies assigned to broadcasting.  “This decision seeks to promote investments and developments of the digital infrastructure within the bands that are currently used for AM and FM radio, with the goal of offering better service to the public.”

iBiquity CEO Bob Struble noted that as the process moves forward, they’ll be working closely with station owners in Mexico, retail partners, OEM Auto and CE product manufacturers for a rapid launch of HD Radio Technology.

He tells RBR-TVBR: “We are thrilled by COFETEL’s decision to move forward with HD Radio Technology in Mexico and await final confirmation from COFEMER. Mexico’s size and importance in the Western hemisphere will aid our development efforts in other countries. Previously, Panama had adopted HD Radio Technology, and several other countries in Central and South America are testing and evaluating our system. We feel this decision helps in those efforts by providing another national vote of confidence for the technology.”

COFETEL said the decision is based principally on the international experience and recommendations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which distinguishes the IBOC standard as being the only one presently recommended for operation on the 535-1705 kHz AM band, as well as the 88-108 MHz FM band.

COFETEL will now send the agreement to the Federal Commission COFEMER for the adoption of the IBOC standard for terrestrial digital radio (RDT) in Mexico. It will then which will perform a consultation process within the framework of improved regulatory processes, as foreseen in the Federal Law of Administrative Processes.