PRSS Launching Initiative to Transition to Single Combined Carrier

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ATTN: PRSS General Managers and Station Engineers

As announced during the 2017 Public Radio Engineering Conference, the PRSS plans to merge our live streams and files traffic into a combined carrier. Before taking this action, which is a key element for the future distribution system we are developing, will unfold over the next nine months, the PRSS plans to proactively communicate with, and assist, all stations with this transition. In addition, we are requesting the support and participation of every station in making this a seamless transition for your listeners. 

Stations currently receive live streams from Galaxy 16, transponder 3, and files from Galaxy 16, transponder 5. Our initiative is to introduce a new modulation scheme that would allow us to optimize bandwidth as well as combine streams and files in a single carrier on Transponder 1. The PRSS has successfully tested and validated the combined streams and files carrier on an adjacent transponder and has been working closely with participating beta stations to gather data and validate service. 

Beginning in November, and extending through the fall, the PRSS, in coordination with stations, will begin the first technical phase of issuing network changes on your IDC 4104 receiver to retrieve files traffic from the new combined carrier.  The migration to the new carrier will take place on November 5, 2017,  from the PRSS NOC in Washington, and we will send communications out to you in advance.  

Shortly thereafter, we will send out a request (and link) for stations to complete a survey audit and provide their signal level readings after the first phase of the migration is completed. The expected time to complete the survey is expected to be about an hour.  It is essential that every interconnected station provide this information to the PRSS so that we can provide assistance to those stations who require it.  We are prepared to work with each station individually as necessary to ensure you have optimal reception.  The survey will close at the end of December.

Once all interconnected stations are migrated from the existing files carrier to the new combined carrier, we will share the details, timing and any relevant information for moving live streams to the combined carrier. PRSS plans to begin helping stations make this transition starting in January 2018, with an eye toward having all stations switched to the combined carrier by April 2018. 

As we move forward, we are prepared to address all questions and concerns from the station community. In the meantime, if you and/or your staff have any immediate questions or comments, please communicate with the PRSS Help Desk at 800.971.7677 or email PRSSHelp@npr.org.. We are setting up a special designation for any inquiries on this subject, and your message will be routed to the engineers working directly on the project. 

Posted: September 21, 2017