Following a review of the market, the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has determined that there are two radio frequencies available for broadcast.
The authority issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an individual spectrum license (ISL) for use of the frequency 90.7 MHz or 105.7 MHz yesterday.
The announcement comes seven years after URCA stopped issuing licenses in March 2014 because it recognized that there was an increased potential for harmful interference of transmission between FM radio broadcast stations.
“During June 2021, URCA conducted spectrum monitoring surveys and a technical analysis of the FM band 88 MHz to 108 MHz in New Providence, to determine licensee compliance with the FM radio technical standards and to determine whether there was existing harmful interference between FM radio broadcasters. URCA also issued a request for information to each FM broadcaster in order to, inter alia, obtain written confirmation of compliance with the FM technical standards and that the broadcasters were not experiencing harmful interference,” the RFP stated.
“Based on the results of URCA’s band survey, technical analysis of the FM band and the said confirmations from the FM radio broadcasters, URCA has determined that the frequencies 90.7 MHz and 105.7 MHz in the 88 MHz to 108 MHz band are now available for FM radio broadcast services in the island of New Providence.”
All licensed FM radio broadcast services in The Bahamas are required to comply with the FM radio technical standards which were established in March 2019 as a result of the harmful interference of transmission between FM radio broadcast stations experienced years earlier.
Applicants have until August 13 to submit an RFP and must include a broadcast plan outlining their program content, with strong emphasis on previously unmet needs and the interests of listeners.
“Additionally, applicants must provide proof of ownership, a business plan and details on the financial strength of the company as well as its technical capability in radio broadcasting,” the authority stated in a release.
“URCA stated that all interested parties will be given equal opportunity, noting that following the competitive process as required under in section 26(5) of the Communications Act, 2009, the licensees will be awarded to applicants who best meet the outlined criteria and are deemed best capable of using the spectrum in a manner that will benefit both consumers and the overall electronic communications sector in The Bahamas.”
The process is expected to be completed by August 30, when new licenses would be granted.