MinTic analyzes adopting digital radio

The Subdirección de Radiodifusión Sonora of the ICT Ministry is the office in charge of regulating the sector in Colombia. For this reason, for this special TVyVideo + Radio he consulted about the state of the broadcasting in the country and the plans for the sector.

TVyVideo + Radio: How many radio stations are there in Colombia?
Currently in Colombia there are 1.592 licensed public service concessions for sound broadcasting. They are classified as: commercial (670), community (627) and public interest (295).

TVyVideo + Radio: What is the vision and plans that the National Government has on this sector?
The National Government recognizes the importance of radio as a tool that promotes social development, peaceful coexistence, the construction of citizenship and the strengthening of cultural and social identities in different regions of the country.

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The plan is to continue providing accompaniment to the radio in order to strengthen the provision of this service and continue advancing the necessary actions to address their needs and problems, as well as those that this Government has developed to alleviate economic, technical and administrative burdens in the provision of this service.

TVyVideo + Radio: Has the adoption of a digital radio standard in Colombia been contemplated?
The Ministry of ICT, in collaboration with the International Telecommunications Union, is analyzing the feasibility of initiating the adoption process of digital sound broadcasting in Colombia. It is important to highlight that the adoption of this implies a long period of transition and it is the market that determines its time, in general, it is more than a decade, taking as reference the developed countries.

In America, the IBOC standard is being adopted, which offers the facility of providing digital and analogue sound broadcasting services at the same time, in the AM and FM bands, which leads to the adoption process of digital radio by of dealers and listeners is conservative and the speed of adoption is established by the market.

TVyVideo + Radio: Is there a regulatory project for digital platforms that transmit audio?
Currently there are no regulatory projects for digital platforms that transmit audio.

TVyVideo + Radio: What projection do you see from the National Government to AM radio?
AM sound broadcasting has the benefit of generating broad coverage reaching a large population, an aspect that is highly valued in rural areas of the country. However, compared to the FM radio, the quality of the audio is poor, which has meant that the listeners are encouraged to listen to the FM radio.

MinTIC, with the support of the ITU, carried out a study with the aim of seeking alternatives that strengthen AM radio. He concluded that a technical solution alternative is its digitization, but this is a long-term process.

TV and Video + Radio: Does the plan for training and strengthening of community radio continue?
The TIC Ministry permanently organizes events with the purpose of guiding and training the concessionaires of the community sound broadcasting service on public policy, service regulations and the obligations they must fulfill in the exercise of their function as providers of the public broadcasting telecommunications service sound

Recently, in the development and implementation of the public policy of Preventive Surveillance, several regional meetings of broadcasters were held in order to guide the concessionaires to comply with the legal and regulatory obligations for the provision of the service, and report on actions that they are being implemented to strengthen preventive surveillance.

Additionally, the First Technical Forum of Sonora Broadcasting was held, whose purpose was to inform operators and the sector in general about the new trends in this service and the challenges of sound broadcasting in Colombia.

TVyVideo + Radio: During the last year, some countries in the region submitted licenses for new radio stations? In Colombia has it been contemplated to deliver new licenses?
The ICT Ministry has contemplated the possibility of holding public calls for the awarding of concessions for the community sound broadcasting service in the different municipalities of the country, in response to the public interest, national and community needs and the availability of the radioelectric spectrum.

However, to date we are in the process of analyzing the availability of the radio spectrum and its corresponding studies. Therefore, the date on which the next public calls to grant licenses for the provision of the service have not been established.

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