ERIC Number: ED394523
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
DBS Radio: Deathstar or Dud? Info. Packets No. 24.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been progressing over the past 5 years toward the institution of Direct Broadcast Satellite Radio (DBS-R) which would institute a new type of radio service. The FCC refers to the service as Satellite DARS (Digital Audio Radio Service), and it would provide reliable, high-fidelity satellite-delivered radio signals, receivable on fixed, mobile, and portable devices anywhere in the United States and its environs. Spectrum for provision of DBS-R services has been allocated, but no rules have yet been set, nor any licenses granted. Four proponents remain among those who submitted proposals during a filing window that closed in 1993. Any proponents awarded spectrum under Gen. Docket 90-357 would become national broadcasters, each beaming 20 or more channels of digital audio to national audiences. Note that another form of DBS radio service, Direct-to-Home (DTH), has also begun; two DBS television services (DirecTv and Primestar) currently offer multichannel digital audio services as part of their service packages. The four DBS-R proponents are American Mobile Radio Corporation; CD Radio (formerly Satellite CD Radio); Digital Satellite Broadcasting Corporation; and Primosphere Limited Partnership. In response to debates on fiscal soundness of the proposals, the FCC has leaned toward DBS-R proponents, citing the economic obstacles that their proposals face, while also maintaining that the burden of proof is on those who would obstruct the new technology. To protect terrestrial broadcasters, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has presented items for the FCC to consider regarding Docket 90-357: DBS-R should only be offered as a non-commercial, subscription-based service; DBS-R radio should not be given any head start in authorization over terrestrial Digital Audio Broadcasting; there should be no ground-based components for terrestrial repeating allowed; the application window for prospective DBS-R licenses should be reopened so more than the current four applicants can be considered; and DBS-R service providers should be held accountable to the same standards and public service requirements to which U.S. broadcasters have been traditionally subject. Geographic issues include the probability of signal loss the further a listener is from the equator and international spectrum differences. The most prudent approach for public radio in reaction to possible future DBS-R services should be both defensive and offensive. (AEF)
Descriptors: Communications Satellites, Programming (Broadcast), Radio, Services, Technological Advancement, Telecommunications
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 901 E. Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004-2037; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (free).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Washington, DC.