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DRM Indian Automotive Group Asks Government for DRM Digital Radio Recommendation in the FM Frequency Band

DRM Indian Automotive Group Asks Government for DRM Digital Radio Recommendation in the FM Frequency Band

In a letter addressed to the Indian government the DRM Indian automotive group and the DRM Consortium are urging the Indian government to protect the significant milestones reached with the DRM digitization and to approve the extension of DRM to the FM broadcasting band.

As the public TV and radio company, Prasar Bharati, has built a new infrastructure around the digitisation of the AM frequency bands, millions of Indian cars on the road (over 6 million) have radios capable of receiving DRM transmissions. Through the efforts of Prasar Bharati, DRM reception in the AM band has considerably improved, as demonstrated recently at BES2024 in Delhi, even in enclosed and covered spaces. This was largely due to the simple optimisation of transmitters, like the one in Nangli (Delhi), and the optimization of the DRM signal configuration, as the recent effort in December 2023 has impressively demonstrated.

The next stage in improving and upgrading the DRM Digital Radio reception is to extend the open, non-proprietary DRM standard to the FM band as software upgrade solutions, already comprehensively demonstrated for automotive receivers, can achieve this goal.

As stated in the letter, the DRM Indian car industry group, the Indian automotive industry, require now a clear decision from the Indian government on the digitisation of the FM band following the good work done already for AM bands. DRM FM could become easily available through an upgrade or retrofit in the existing cars already fitted with a DRM receiver.

Following the example of Europe, the signatories of the letter urge the Indian government to mandate digital radio in all cars in India and to mandate the Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), native to the DRM standard, in all cars, thus fulfilling one of the great goals of the Hon’ble PM of India.

Alongside this the public radio, AIR, needs to increase digital broadcast power and optimize the configuration of existing DRM AM-band transmitters and extend pure DRM transmission hours to ensure they also cover peak traffic hours. AIR is also urged to provide a clear and comprehensive, multi-platform communication plan so that drivers and listeners understand that digital radio, with its extra benefits and enhanced audio, is available to them in cars, at no extra cost. Such good communication is vital not only for the car manufacturing industry but also for the growing mobile and portable receiver industry as well.

In the opinion of the car group a clear decision and, subsequently, good communication will give the automotive market stability and certainty. Therefore, a decision to mandate digital receivers in cars, make EWF obligatory in receivers and extend DRM to the FM band is forward-looking and makes perfect sense.

According to the DRM automotive group and the DRM Consortium, if DRM is adopted in all the frequency bands (both AM and FM), over which it shares the same great features and benefits, then DRM digital radio would flourish in the whole of India, resulting in huge power and spectrum savings, provision of multiple radio services, textual information in most of the Indian languages and, above all, it will meet the mission Make in India which will spawn exporting industries that can supply rollouts in other countries, too.