Monday, June 18, 2012

India Update from Yogendra Pal

Prasar Bharati, the only public service broadcaster in India, broadcasts radio services through All India Radio (AIR) and television services through Doordarshan India (DDI). The Indian Government has already taken the vital decision to complete the digitisation of the terrestrial Radio and Television broadcasting network of AIR and DDI by 2017.

    AIR's one hundred and forty-nine medium wave (MW) transmitters, of different powers, provide Radio signals to over 98% of the population of India and to most of the neighbouring countries, whereas forty-eight short wave (SW) transmitters of AIR enable the radio listeners, in most parts of the world, to enjoy AIR's programmes in a number of Indian and foreign languages.

    AIR has adopted DRM and launched the DRM service, from one of the 250 kW SW transmitters, on the 16th January 2009. The service is in pure digital mode. Initially about four hours of programmes for the UK and Western Europe and three hours for the areas around Delhi were being broadcast daily. However, from 30th Oct 2011, AIR extended the DRM transmissions to about 15 hours per day. This service is now available in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Russia, NE Asia, Mauritius and East Africa.

    In the first phase, another nine SW and seventy-two MW transmitters are in the process of either being replaced or converted to DRM by AIR. Out of these, eight medium wave DRM transmitters, including two of 1000 kW power each, have already been received by AIR and are in the process of being installed. An order for one short wave transmitter has also been placed. It is understood that the orders for the procurement and/or conversion of rest of the transmitters are at the advanced final stage. AIR proposes to digitise the remaining MW and SW transmitters in the second phase, achieving total digitisation by 2017, the cut off date fixed by the Indian Government.

AIR have decided that before the switch over in 2017, MW transmitters are to be operated in simulcast mode and the SW transmitters only in pure digital. On MW transmitters the existing programmes would continue to be available in analogue mode but special entertainment programmes, which are now available in a very limited area, will be provided in digital mode. Value added services are also being planned.

Source: DRM Chapter for India

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