Lucent Radio gets dosh injection

The digital-radio arm of Lucent gets a boost from the US.

Lucent Digital Radio, formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lucent Technologies, is now a separate entity following investment Tuesday from Pequot Capital Management, a US investment firm.

Lucent will continue to hold a majority stake in the company and provide ongoing access to its Bell Labs research and development unit.

Lucent first started developing its digital audio broadcasting (DAB) technology, IB OC (in-band on-channel), in early 1997. The technology places DAB signals within the existing radio spectrum, co-located with the analogue signal of existing FM and AM broadcasters, letting broadcasters easily switch to a digital broadcast system.

In the UK, the BBC has been transmitting Radios 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live using DAB since September 1995, via Eureka 147 technology. The corporation is investing heavily in digital radio in preparation for the turnoff of the existing Medium Wave, Long Wave and FM transmitters in the next 10 to 15 years.

Digital radio offers crystal clear sound, with FM giving CD quality sound, and the promise of more channels as several programmes and services can be transmitted in the same block of frequencies. Broadcasters will also be able to transmit extra information, including text and pictures, along with radio programmes.