On May 22, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice requesting comments on a proposed FM Digital Power Increase and several studies on its impact. In 2008, a coalition of 18 broadcasters and the four largest broadcast equipment manufacturers submitted a request to the FCC seeking an increase in maximum digital operating power of FM stations from 1% of a station's analog power to 10%. The coalition submitted a study prepared by iBiquity Digital Corporation to support the proposed increase. National Public Radio (NPR) submitted a separate study that was more wary of interference problems that could result from the proposed increase. Last year, the FCC requested comments on these studies. Later in 2008, NPR announced additional studies and testing of the proposed power increase and requested additional time to complete its studies before the FCC alters existing regulations.

NPR's announcement of additional studies prompted the FCC's Public Notice that requests comment on the following issues:

  • Whether the FCC should defer consideration of an FM power increase until NPR completes its studies;
  • Whether the practical experiences of stations warrant an increase to 10% or a lesser increase would suffice;
  • If the FCC approves a power increase, what standards the Commission should adopt to prevent interference to analog stations; and
  • If the FCC adopts a power increase, whether there should be more explicit procedures for digital-to-analog interference complaints.

A copy of the Notice is available here.

Comments are due 21 days after the publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 35 days after publication in the Federal Register. Currently, the Notice has yet to be published in the Federal Register.