FCC Reviewing Bill Requiring Satellite Radios to Provide HD Radio
[Satellite Today 09-30-08] The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reviewing a bill proposed by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) that requires satellite radios to provide HD radio.
The bill, H.R. 7157: Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act, is intended to provide consumers seamless access to free, over-the-air digital radio in consumer electronic devices, according to a release from Markey’s office. Markey is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, and the bill is cosponsored by Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.).
"As the broadcast radio industry migrates to digital broadcasting technology, this legislation will ensure that consumers are able to readily receive free service through consumer electronics systems that are otherwise receiving satellite digital audio radio and traditional AM or FM stations,” Markey said in a statement. "Further, the recent merger of the only two satellite radio providers, XM [Satellite Radio] and Sirius Satellite Radio, has underscored the importance of ensuring consumer access to a diversity of sources for digital radio content, in particular content originating in their local communities. My bill therefore simultaneously seeks to address the long-term competitive health of local radio while ensuring that their local, digital services are readily received by radio consumers."
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) lauded the bill. "NAB salutes the leadership of Chairman Markey and a bipartisan group of lawmakers for sponsoring this important bill that will boost the integration of HD Radio in satellite radio receivers, including those installed in automobiles,” President and CEO David Rehr said in a statement.
Toyota and General Motors have publicly opposed the integration of HD Radio in satellite radios during FCC hearings.