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AIR gets under five MHz spectrum allocation for FM services

All India Radio, which has a spectrum of just 4.7 MHz exclusively reserved for its FM services will need more spectrum for setting up 385 new FM transmitters in the country under the 12th Plan.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that only 100 to 103.7 was presently reserved exclusively for FM broadcasting services by AIR. The broadcaster would need the additional spectrum for increasing the FM coverage to 90 per cent population.

At present, AIR FM reaches out to 41.43 per cent population and 29.18 per cent area. This is part of the total AIR coverage of 91.87 per cent area and 99.19 per cent population. Even prior to the 12th plan scheme, FM transmitters of varying capacities are being installed in 224 more places throughout the country by AIR, apart from forty MW transmitters. This will take the coverage to 38.75 per cent area and 53.53 per cent population including villages and hamlets.

In contracts, 103.7 – 108 MHz and 91.5 MHz to 95 MHz are exclusively reserved for expansion of the private sector FM services in the country.

Sources said that while 87 to 91.5 MHz and 95 to 100 MHz are shared between Fixed/Mobile and FM broadcasting services, Fixed/Mobile Services have priority over FM broadcasting services.

Meanwhile, 531-1602 kHz (Medium Frequency) is an exclusive band for radio broadcasting according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). AIR gets allocation for Medium Wave radio services. Furthermore, 3-26 MHz (High Frequency) is an exclusive band for radio broadcasting according to the ITU and AIR gets allocation for Short Wave radio services.

In addition, AIR is also using the INSAT satellites for linking/feeding of programmes to various stations in the country through S-Band: 2550-2590 MHz (Transponder S-1); 2590-2630 MHz ((Transponder S-2); and C-Band : 4105-4145 MHz.

The sources said the assessment of spectrum requirement for broadcasting and radio is done by Wireless Planning Coordination Wing (WPC) of the Department of Telecom through a Committee under the chairmanship of Wireless Advisor while drawing up of National Frequency Allocation Plan. The NFAP 2011 is the latest frequency allocation plan.

RnM (Radio and Music) Team