Digital radio mulled for 2013
Upgrade to be test-launched first; NBTC to host workshop on system this weekendThe National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's broadcasting committee might allocate a spectrum for digital radio next year.
Natee Sukonrat, vice chairman of the NBTC and chairman of the broadcasting committee, said that this year the committee would test-launch digital radio once every six months. Next year it might allocate an unused VHF spectrum for digital radio. The allocation might be for the major provinces first.
Like the digital TV licences, operation licences for digital radio will be categorised into those for network operators, broadcasting facility operators, and broadcasting service providers. Those wanting to become commercial broadcasting service providers will be required to bid for frequencies of the spectrum.
A digital radio system would solve the frequency jam by community radio channels. The auto industry might be the first to adopt such a system as many major carmakers are keen to install digital radio systems in their vehicles.
Natee said the launch of digital radio in Thailand would provide choices to consumers as it would be available in parallel with the existing analog system. There will be no shutdown of the analog system.
The NBTC's interest in digital radio coincides with its plan to switch Thailand's terrestrial television system from analog to digital. The broadcasting committee is expected to auction licences for commercial digital TV service this year.
The NBTC, the International Telecommunication Union and WorldDMB, a global forum for digital-radio professionals, yesterday kicked off a three-day technology workshop and demonstration of the digital radio broadcasting system.
The ITU will also deploy its expertise to help the NBTC draw up a digital-radio road map. The ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology.
WorldDMB was also invited to conduct a workshop and demonstration for senior engineers and industry stakeholders wanting to learn more about what is involved in the establishment of digital radio.
The workshop will also include a one-day live field test of digital radio broadcasting today in Bangkok, and a transmission demonstration will be conducted at MCOT.