URCA will not require existing radio stations to migrate frequencies
The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) will not require existing radio stations to migrate frequencies in order to create the most ideal frequency spacing configuration for this country’s spectrum, the regulator said in its “Statement of Results and Final Decision for the Technical Standards Framework for FM Radio Broadcasting in The Bahamas”.
The statement notes that, after considering the concerns of radio stations that changing frequencies to maximize the efficiency of frequency spacing could result in high costs and lost listenership, URCA has decided not to require the migration of frequencies.
“As part of this consultation, URCA sought the views of interested parties on possible methods for migration of radio stations, including the possibility of using URCA’s powers under the communications act,” the statement points out.
“URCA has considered the likely impact on radio broadcast stations in New Providence and on the public that would result from any regulator-imposed requirement to migrate frequencies to conform to the ideal spacing configuration.
“URCA does not consider it inappropriate to carry out an exercise now which would disproportionately impact and expose the existing licensees to costs and expenses resulting from a decision made through no fault of their own. Based on the foregoing, URCA has balanced its objective of achieving spectrum efficiency in New Providence through the establishment of appropriate frameworks, with the possibility of harm to existing radio broadcast stations and the public. URCA has therefore determined that it will not require the migration of any existing FM radio broadcast stations to comply with the optimal spacing determined above.”
URCA said it has decided that, moving forward, as stations naturally migrate over time, licenses are surrendered or terminated, changes occur during the normal course of business, or a station wishes to voluntarily change its frequency assignment, frequencies consistent with the determined optimal spacing will be provided.
“While the respacing may be an ideal approach, adequate reduction of potential harmful interference between existing FM radio stations in New Providence can be achieved through compliance by radio broadcast stations to the FM radio technical standards proposed by URCA arising out of this consultation,” URCA states.
“URCA does not consider the current irregular spacing to be the fault of the existing licensees and a disproportionate part of the burden of any migration would fall upon those licensees.”
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