KOREA: Korea seeks to adopt digital radio broadcast system
Analogue system has too few frequencies, says Ministry of Information and Communication official
Saturday, December 23, 2006
By Hwang Si-young
The Ministry of Information and Communication is set to launch a committee to accelerate the application of digital technologies to the nation's radio broadcast system.
"Under the current analogue system, newcomers can hardly find available frequency resources. Frequencies have almost been used up, and that's one of the reasons why we are trying to digitalize the whole radio broadcast system," Lee Jung-gu, head of the ministry' broadcasting-satellite division, told The Korea Herald.
There are currently 51 radio broadcasters in Korea, including region-based ones.
"There are a number of problems left to be examined before converting to digital, including whether to choose Europe's Digital Audio Broadcasting and the United States' In-Band On-Channel as the technology standard."
Adopting IBOC will not require the hassle of changing radio sets across the nation to new ones. However, except in its competitive edge, the U.S. technology can not be viewed as a better match than its European counterpart that shares similar technical qualities with Korea's de facto mobile TV platform called digital multimedia broadcasting, Lee said.
The digital radio broadcast system is expected to provide CD-level high-quality stereo sound and data services.
The new system will also help create fresh market demand and develop related industries. Electronics makers, for instance, will be able to launch digital radio devices into the domestic market.
The committee will consist of three working groups, each discussing technological requirements, legal frameworks and industrial demand.
About 18 experts from the industry, academics and research institutes will work for the committee.
The committee will focus on the future technology standard, particularly regarding transmission frequency band, sales of capable terminals, re-division of broadcasting areas, legal issues, as well as the most appropriate timing to digitalize the national radio broadcast system.
There had been several working groups within the ministry that discussed various related issues ranging from market demand to system specifications, utilization of the existing frequency resources, broadcasting areas, and radio broadcasters' legal status.
But it was difficult to narrow down all of the diverse opinions into one, the ministry said.
The new committee will start working in January next year.
Date Posted: 12/23/2006