The I&B Ministry is getting a technical study done to determine whether it can auction more channels during the Phase III radio expansion after recent TRAI recommendations on channel spacing have suggested better utilisation of spectrum.
The ministry has asked Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to study whether it would be technically feasible to auction more channels within the available radio spectrum for the Phase III expansion of FM radio,officials said.
It had earlier asked TRAI to examine the issue of minimum channel spacing for radio. Minimum channel spacing is the frequency separation between the adjacent channels which determines faithful reception of individual channels at the listener’s radio receiver set.
After examining the matter,TRAI had opined that the minimum channel spacing could be reduced from the present 800 KHz to 400 KHz. The telecom regulator had also said that with advances in radio communication,the need for this would lead to better utilisation of the radio spectrum.
The officials said that if less spectrum space is required to separate channels,it would automatically mean that more radio channels can be carried in the same spectrum.
“If there is additional spectrum we could auction more channels,but to determine how many and if should this be done in Phase III or would there be a Phase IV for that,we need to examine the issue further for which we have asked BECIL to conduct a study,” a senior official said.
The official said that while BECIL would report its findings to the ministry,a final decision would only be taken after permission from the Cabinet.
Phase III expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services is to pave way for introduction of new channels in 294 cities having population of one lakh and above.