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Pending the approved merger with Sprint, the company intends to offer in-home internet services to roughly 9.5M American households by 2024

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Sprint and T-Mobile announced their plan to merge back in April and are in the process of obtaining consent from the Department of Justice, the FCC and other federal regulatory bodies, and hope to close their proposed transaction by early next year. 

Many Wall Street analysts haven’t given the transaction very good odds, according to fiercewireless.com , “though that may be changing given AT&T’s recent move to close its purchase of Time Warner over the DoJ’s opposition.”

If regulators approve their merger proposal, Sprint and T-Mobile plan to offer in-home internet services to roughly 9.5 million American households by 2024, or about 13% of the country. The company said that figure would give it a market penetration of around 7%, making it the nation’s fourth largest in-home ISP, based on current subscriber counts, according to the same article. 

In their filing, Sprint and T-outlined their plans to sell services to in-home broadband users, in competition to established ISPs like Verizon, Charter and Comcast. “Today, 19% of households could eliminate their home broadband subscription entirely by tethering on a T-Mobile two-line plan. New T-Mobile will accelerate this trend by providing an increasingly viable alternative to in-home broadband. By 2024, 35 to 45% of households could completely eliminate their home broadband subscription and rely on New T-Mobile for all their broadband needs,” according to Fierce Wireless. 

In order to do this, the “new” T-Mobile would develop a “blended” 5G network with (what is now) Sprint, using high-, low- and mid-band radio spectrum, in order to deliver average network speeds of 450-Mbit/s, which is faster than many fixed DSL and cable offerings in the U.S. today, according to lightreading.com

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Digital radio deployments have been greenlit in Europe

GENEVA — In Kiev, on June 15, DAB+ broadcasting started, according to mediasat.info . At present, seven radio stations are available for reception: Promin, Kultura, Old Fashioned Radio, Meidan, Radio Mariya, Kraina FM and Hype Radio.

In Belgium, regulations that will allow the development of a new frequency plan for analog radio stations, while opening the way for the deployment of digital radio (DAB+) in French-speaking Belgium, were approved in the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, reports rtbf.be . This news did elaborate on the specifics of how they will affect digital broadcasting there in the near future.

The French are fans of radio, with about 850 stations available nationwide. It remains the preferred medium for information in the morning, with 43 million daily listeners, according to lesechos.fr . More recently, a revealed that for 94% of French people, access to radio was a universal right; but at the same time, about 75% of the population knows nothing about digital radio , at least according to France’s CSA.

The CSA has announced a new strategy to “relaunch” the deployment of DAB+ in France. Development will be more tactical with tenders issued nationwide for more profitable areas (major cities and major highways and motorways), according to the same article. The long-term objective is to cover 30 regions and to go from 20–70% coverage of the country by 2020.

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Some are playing down expectations for the standard ahead of investments

LONDON — At the recent 5G World Summit 2018 in London, European cell companies Swisscom and Three UK “…played down expectations of a 5G-related boost in customer spending or a capital expenditure increase by their own companies,” according to lightreading.com

Three UK CTO Bryn Jones said he saw no reason for much increase in capital expenditure as his company starts to build a 5G network. Heinz Herren, the Swisscom AG CTO, echoed those sentiments, saying that 5G investments could largely be managed within today’s “capex envelope.”

There may be capital increases associated with the use of more sophisticated antenna systems as well as investment in underlying fiber networks, according to Jones. “When you look at massive MIMO, those antennas are heavier and bigger and there is more spending in that area than we had in moving from 3G to 4G,” he said in the same Light Reading article. Jones noted that there is also a much higher requirement for fiber backhaul.

“The Swiss market is flat and so it is really difficult to add 5G and sell it and personally I think we are having too many discussions around the business case,” said Herren. “I think if your main business case is connectivity there is no question about doing 5G, but I don’t think you will see additional ARPU [average revenue per user],” he said, again from the same article.

Last month, Italy’s communications regulator Agcom announced plans to hold an auction for spectrum suitable for 5G next-generation services this September. It’s expected that the sale of the spectrum will allow the Italian government to raise at least €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion), with half of that revenue expected to come in this year, reports rcewireless.com . The starting bid for the 700 MHz spectrum, split in to six slots, is approximately 2 billion euros.

However, Italian broadcaster Mediaset and media group Cairo Communication have filed an appeal with a regional court against Agcom’s proposed auction of 5G frequencies, according to the same article. The frequencies in the 700 MHz band are currently used by several TV groups including Mediaset, state broadcaster RAI and Cairo, which would all have to give up the frequencies.

Italian cellphone operators Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia, Wind Tre and Fastweb were initially expected to take part in the 5G auction — however, they were also considering a boycott of the 5G auction process as they believed that the starting price set by the regulator for the spectrum in the 700 MHz band was too high, according to the same article. Operators also considered that “the current rules of the auction were too rigid for them to participate.”

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Feature enables users to view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets

FELTON, Calif. — Inovonics says it has released a free firmware update that adds “Listener Experience” to its INOmini 638 HD SiteStreamer, which enables users to monitor up to 30 sources of FM and HD programming over the Internet.

According to a company announcement, the new Listener Experience feature enables “users to remotely view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets on the unit” via the 638’s web interface.

Inovonics says users can now select and view info from the FM channel and the HD-Radio channels that are being transmitted on one screen. This information includes call letters, RDS messaging, artist, song title, album and genre. This is in addition to remote listening via a live stream of the station.

Users can download the 638 Firmware Update Rev 1.2.0.7 here.

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Inntot Technologies, GeekSynergy, Gospell Digital Technology and Communications Systems are all working on products



Avion DRM receiver

NEW DELHI — You will recall that All India Radio, the public service broadcaster in India, adopted the Digital Radio Mondiale standard for the digital terrestrial radio transmissions in the MW and SW bands. 35 MW transmitters of AIR, ranging in power from 20 kW to 1000 kW, continue to operate in using DRM in various fashions. Two more transmitters, 100 kW each, are under trial in Delhi and these are expected to be operational in a couple of months, according to DRM news .

DRM news has compiled a list of manufacturers of stand-alone DRM receivers from various manufacturers, that is of interest.


DRM in the dashboard

Inntot Technologies, a start-up enterprise in India, has developed a software-based DRM receiver, which is based on a generic processor, and meets all the specifications for the Minimum Receiver Requirements, supporting all DRM core functionality such as Journaline advanced text and Emergency Warning Functionality. The design has been field tested in number of cities in India. It is expected to be very cost effective.

GeekSynergy, another start-up, is working on the development of a “highly affordable yet full-featured” DRM receiver, which is likely to be showcased by summer 2018. The company is also working on incorporating DRM into smartphones using one of the most well-known chips installed in all the branded mobile phones.


Gospell receiver and dongle

The Chinese company Gospell Digital Technology has presented a very well-reviewed DRM Receiver, the GR 216, which is already in production. These units can receive DRM signals in the AM as well as the VHF bands for large-area and local services, respectively. Core DRM features such as Journaline advanced text and EWF — with automatic device-wake-up from deep-standby are supported. Gospell is developing a DRM receiver dongle, GR-227, which can be plugged in the existing audio systems in the automobiles on USB ports or Aux input to receive DRM signals. The receiver model will allow legacy cars already on the road and with analog AM and FM reception to be upgraded to DRM digital reception through this simple add-on device. The unit is likely to go into production shortly.

Communications Systems is the first radio manufacturer in India to domestically develop and produce a DRM receiver (AV-1401), an “ambitious full-featured” digital radio. It supports all the DRM-specific features including Journaline advanced text and Emergency Warning Functionality. As part of the company’s continued commitment to DRM in India, the model was recently updated and easily meets DRM’s minimum receiver requirements as recommended by the DRM Consortium. 

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They’re pushing back hard and seeking Hill help to reinstate Title II protections

WASHINGTON — Net neutrality activist groups were lining up their protest efforts Monday (June 11) as the FCC’s rules against online blocking, throttling and paid prioritization sunset in favor of a deregulatory regime centered on Federal Trade Commission oversight/enforcement.

But they were also playing down any immediate changes, likely an effort to take some of the shine off deregulation fans’ argument that the internet will look no different Monday than it did the day before.

“Users will see no changes to the internet,” read an email from a company promoting the various efforts to protest the rule rollback. “Big cable and ISPs will take their time to block, throttle, and prevent users from freely accessing the internet.”

But activists weren’t taking their time in pushing back hard and seeking Hill help.

The Voices for Internet Freedom coalition, for example, was hosting an “emergency meeting” Monday night to “learn how the Trump FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality will impact communities of color and why the fight to protect the open internet is a critical racial justice issue.”

Coalition members include 18 Million Rising, the Center for Media Justice, Free Press Action Fund, Color Of Change and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

And while various groups and websites were adding protest banners and widgets Monday as an online “action day,” Public Knowledge, Common Cause, Center for American Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Consumers Union, Center for Media Justice and others were planning a second action day June 26 on the Hill in advance of the July 4 break.

While ISPs and Republicans have been pushing for bipartisan network neutrality legislation, the Hill advocacy day will be targeted toward getting House members to sign on to the Congressional Reform Act resolution to restore the network neutrality rules by nullifying their rollback.

That CRA passed narrowly in the Senate, but according to the groups, there are currently 174 House members supporting it, which is not even all the Dems and far short of the 218 they would need to force a vote in the House.

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A Congressional effort to revive the rules has passed in the Senate, but has yet to be taken up by the House

WASHINGTON — June 11 marked the end of the road for Title II regulations, more commonly known as “net neutrality,” as the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the rules has now taken effect.

The FCC released a statement standing by its repeal and emphasizing that the “internet wasn’t broken” in 2015 when the rules were passed, framing the repeal as a return to the “light-touch approach” that was in place as the Internet first formed and grew, with some enhanced rules on disclosure requirements for service providers, according to rcrwireless.com . As just one example: If customers’ terms of service do change, it must be disclosed to them.

An effort in Congress to revive the rules — under which internet service providers were required to provide equal access to all content without throttling, blocking or offering paid priority based on the service or content — has passed in the Senate, but has yet to be taken up by the House. There are still state attorneys general fighting the repeal in the courts, and some states are attempting to put their own net neutrality rules in place.

As one example, on May 30, the California State Senate overwhelmingly passed strong net neutrality legislation despite “fierce opposition from big ISPs, including AT&T and Comcast,” according to lightreading.com . The California bill (SB 822) would amend state law by adding several online practices to the state’s Consumers’ Legal Remedies Act’s definition of “certain unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices” in the provision of goods and services in the state. “Under the bill, those unfair methods would now include blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of web content, as well as paid zero-rating plans.”

The FCC order eliminating the federal net neutrality rules pre-empts states from trying to impose the rules within their boundaries. “So a classic states’ rights court battle is brewing in Sacramento, especially if other states either follow California’s legislative lead or require providers to adhere to net neutrality rules when they sign government broadband deals,” according to the same article in Light Reading. 

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The Creta is the seventh Hyundai model to be equipped with digital radio


NEW DELHI — DRM news is reporting that Hyundai has added another digital radio to its line of cars. The Hyundai Creta, “one of the most popular and best-selling SUVs in India” now comes with a DRM receiver as standard equipment. The Creta represents the seventh Hyundai model with DRM receivers available.

“More than 100,000 cars are on the road in India today and are equipped with DRM receivers (Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Mahinda) — Hyundai for instance has six models with DRM receivers on the Indian roads with new models to come, according to trai.in.gov . The first after-market car radio and add-on dongle with DRM support was publicly presented at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam both for the AM bands and ready for the FM/VHF bands. 

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The government said key use cases include smart cities, healthcare, education, connected and autonomous vehicles, entertainment and media and the Internet of Things

OTTAWA — Canadian carriers have been testing 5G technology in order to get ready for the future commercial launch of this technology. 

For example, in the spring, Shaw Communications completed its first 5G technical trials in Calgary, in partnership with Nokia. The 5G trial used 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum and 3.5 GHz spectrum, and was conducted using pre-commercial equipment at Shaw’s Barlow Campus Technology Center in Calgary, according to rcrwireless.com . Shaw conducted comparative testing between 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum to better understand the interoperability between two of the bands, using Rohde & Schwarz gear to measure 5G and LTE signals simultaneously.

Rogers Communications recently announced a multi-year plan by which it aims to deploy 5G technology in partnership with Ericsson. Rogers’ network plan includes the continued rollout of its gigabit LTE network with technology and equipment based on the latest global 3GPP standards, including 4×4 multiple-input-multiple-output, four-carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. 

The company also plans to build up its network with both small cells and more traditional radio sites across the country, according to the same article. Through the partnership with Ericsson, Rogers will trial 5G technology in Toronto and Ottawa, in addition to select cities over the next year.

Earlier this year Telus , in partnership with Huawei, launched a 5G wireless-to-the-home (WttH) trial service using specially-designed 5G customer premise equipment, at Telus’ downtown Vancouver “5G Living Lab.”

The Canadian government said that key use cases for the next-generation network technology include smart cities, healthcare, education, connected and autonomous vehicles, entertainment and media and the Internet of Things, and it confirmed plans to auction key wireless spectrum for the provision of 5G services in 2020, again according to the same article. 

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All Swiss tunnels will include DAB+; Italy’s RAI increases digital program offerings

BERN, Switzerland —Switzerland’s Federal Roads Office has announced that that radio systems in the motorway tunnels for the DAB+ digital radio reception will be expanded throughout Switzerland. In the area of ​​northeastern Switzerland, work has been completed in all 27 tunnels.

Eventually all the tunnels of Swiss national roads will be upgraded to receive the new DAB+ digital radio standard, for safety and comfort reasons, so that they will duplicate analog FM radio reception, matching expectations of drivers there.

DAB + reception on the highways in the cantons of Zurich, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, St. Gallen and Glarus as well as in the canton of Schwyz along Lake Zurich, is now possible without gaps, according to lokalinfo.ch .

ITALY

In Rome, RAI Radio has announced the startup of two new radio programs in June: Rai Radio1 Sport and Rai Radio2 Indie.

“With these two new channels our offer of radio increases and brings the total number to 12, which should reach 13 shortly with a new specialized spin-off channel of Radio 3. A rich offer, unthinkable only a few years ago, which positions RAI Radio among the main players in the production of audio content, whether for entertainment, information or culture. And that confirms the desire to turn the promises announced into reality, a demanding job that I’m proud of because it looks at the future of Radio RAI,” Roberto Sergio said in this article in primaonline.it .

“The entire production chain is now fully digitalized, from studies to royalties to transmission. In this sense, RAI Radio has recently given a strong impetus to the spread of the DAB+…” said Sergio. “RAI’s investments in DAB+ and digital have been anticipated for a value of around 5 million euros. Today, we can therefore already offer good coverage on the central North motorway axis. The commitment is however constant and will lead us to constantly increase the quality and penetration of the digital signal.”

The RAI Radio platform is available on all digital service types and includes RAI Radio1, RAI Radi2, RAI Radio 3, Isoradio, Gr Parlamento along with five specialized programs: RAI Radio Classica, RAI Radio Kids, RAI Radio Live, RAI Radio Techete’, RAI Radio Tutta Italiana and RAI Radio 3 by the end of 2018.

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