The DRM project in India is entering a new phase after the successful implementation of Phase-I of the national DRM digital radio roll-out. Thirty-seven DRM transmitters installed by All India Radio throughout the country – 35 medium wave and 2 shortwave – are now operational.

Both SW transmitters are for international service and are broadcasting in pure DRM. Out of the 35 MW transmitters, 2 are broadcasting in pure DRM, carrying two audio services in digital; the other 33 transmitters are working in simulcast mode. The transmission power of these 35 transmitters is 1000 kW (two), 300 kW (six), 200 kW (10), 100 kW (11) and 20 kW (6); two SW transmitters are 500 kW and 250 kW each.

AIR is now in the process of launching Phase-II of the DRM project by offering full features/services from these DRM transmitters to further improve service quality. With the finalization of Phase-II, the full-featured DRM services will be available to the audience. A public information campaign will be initiated to inform citizens of the completely new and future-oriented DRM radio platform and its advantages.

Yogendra Pal

"A group of broadcasters has developed DRM which can coexist with analog. Excellent audio quality programs and all extra features available in digital must be made available, so that listeners see value in buying DRM digital receivers. The price of standalone DRM digital receivers will certainly go down very fast with demand, as we have seen in the deployment of any new technology in any other field. The availability of DRM reception facility in cellular phones will further boost the popularity of DRM digital services. I feel it is vital that broadcasters announce an action plan for the deployment of DRM digital services so that the industry can gear up to meet the demand of DRM receivers."

Yogendra Pal
Hon Chair,
DRM India Chapter

The first steps of Phase-II of the digital radio roll-out project are already visible and audible to the audience in Delhi. The DRM transmissions from Delhi/Nangli provide excellent audio quality based on DRM's xHE-AAC audio codec. It also includes DRM text messages and Journaline. The advanced text service, Journaline, provides detailed news of various topics to listeners – accessible on their radio set screen – free of charge, without requiring Internet access. All this is available in the simulcast configuration and with the most robust DRM transmission configuration, enabling increased in-door coverage.

Twenty-one DRM transmitters are now operating in pure DRM for one hour every day, in addition to simulcast operation. Excellent feedback is being received on the reception quality of DRM signals. AIR plans to enhance the DRM service from Chennai, Pune, and Bangalore within this year.

Phase-III will eventually culminate in the complete transition of radio services to the digital DRM platform, improving the number and quality of radio services and extra features for the listeners, while also saving tremendous amount of transmission power every year.