The country’s FM spectrum is congested, and attempts to free up some of the spectrum for new players is proving difficult
As previously reported, Digital Radio Mondiale for the FM band is currently being trialed in New Delhi, with plans to add Jaipur. This trial is based on actual measurements and reception of audio signals in standalone and car radio sets.
The DRM for India Automotive Group notes that an entire whole automotive eco-system has evolved in India around DRM. It includes chipset manufacturers like NXP, Tier-1 receiver manufacturers, and car brands like Hyundai, Maruti-Suzuki, Toyota and others, the group says. These companies have invested large amounts of money in digitizing car radios based on the DRM technology. As a result, in just two years over 2.5 million cars have come on the Indian roads, line-fitted with DRM receivers.
The DRM consortium points out that the India trial has been an opportunity to demonstrate how the existing DRM transmissions in the former AM bands can be upgraded to support DRM in both AM and FM bands by a simple receiver firmware update (no change in hardware needed). Existing car receivers were updated and received live the DRM FM-band services on-air in New Delhi, both during the February 24–25 presentation, and during the actual measurement trips.
The trial is being watched with interest domestically and internationally, as India already has one of the largest digitization programs in the world, ready to be extended through the adoption of DRM in the VHF band II, explained the organization.