The Subdirectorate of Sound Broadcasting of the Ministry of ICT, is the office in charge of the regulation of the sector in Colombia. Therefore, for this special TVyVideo+Radio he consulted on the state of broadcasting in the country and the plans for the sector.
TVyVideo+Radio: How many radio stations are there in Colombia?
MinTIC: There are currently 1,592 authorized public sound broadcasting concessions in Colombia. They are classified into: commercial (670), Community (627) and public interest (295).
TVyVideo+Radio: What is the vision and plans that the National Government has on this sector?
MinTIC: The National Government recognizes the importance of radio as a tool that promotes social development, peaceful coexistence, the construction of citizenship and the strengthening of cultural and social identities in the different regions of the country.
The plan is to continue providing accompaniment to the radio in order to strengthen the provision of this service and continue to advance the necessary actions to meet their needs and problems, as well as those that this Government has been developing to alleviate economic, technical and administrative burdens in the provision of this service.
TVyVideo+Radio: Has the adoption of a digital radio standard been contemplated in Colombia?
MinTIC: The Ministry of ICT, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union, is analyzing the feasibility of initiating the process of adopting digital sound broadcasting in Colombia. It is important to note that the adoption of this entails a long period of transition and it is the market that determines its time, in general, it is more than a decade, taking as a reference the developed countries.
In the Americas, the IBOC standard is being adopted, which offers the ease of providing the digital and analog sound broadcasting service at the same time, in the AM and FM bands, which leads to the process of adoption of digital radio by dealers and listeners being conservative and the speed of adoption is established by the market.
TVyVideo+Radio: Are there any regulatory projects for digital platforms that transmit audio?
MinTIC: There are currently no regulatory projects for digital platforms that transmit audio.
TVyVideo+Radio: What projection do you see from the National Government to AM radio?
MinTIC: AM sound broadcasting has the benefit of generating extensive coverage reaching a large population, an aspect that is highly valued in rural areas of the country. However, compared to FM radio, the audio quality is poor, which has led to listeners being stimulated to listen to FM radio.
MinTIC, with the support of ITU, conducted a study to find alternatives to strengthen AM radio. He concluded that a technical alternative solution is its digitization, but this is a long-term process.
TVyVideo+Radio: Is the community radio training and strengthening plan continuing?
MinTIC: The MINISTRY of ICT permanently organizes events in order to guide and train the concessionaires of the community sound broadcasting service on public policy, service regulations and the obligations they must fulfill in the exercise of their function as providers of the public service of telecommunications of sound broadcasting.
Recently, in the development and implementation of the public policy of Preventive Surveillance, several regional meetings of broadcasters were held in order to guide concessionaires towards compliance with legal and regulatory obligations for the provision of the service, and report on actions that are being implemented to strengthen preventive surveillance.
Additionally, the First Technical Forum on Sound Broadcasting was held, which aimed to inform operators and the sector in general about the new trends in this service and the challenges of sound broadcasting in Colombia.
TVyVideo+Radio: During the last year, have some countries in the region licensed new radio stations? Has Colombia contemplated giving new licenses?
MinTIC: The MINISTRY of ICT has contemplated the possibility of making public calls for the award of concessions for the community sound broadcasting service in the different municipalities of the country, in response to the public interest, national and community needs and the availability of the radio spectrum.
However, to date we are in the process of analyzing the availability of the radio spectrum and its corresponding studies. Therefore, the date on which the next public calls to grant licenses for the provision of the service will be developed has not been established.