Arqiva has been selected by the BBC to provide an extension to the BBC?s existing DAB digital radio network. They also announce Arqiva as their preferred supplier of the distribution network and managed transmission service for digital terrestrial television in the UK.
This means Arqiva will be responsible for building and operating additional transmitters to expand the coverage of the BBC’s DAB digital radio network. It is also envisaged that Arqiva will design, build and then operate the digital TV network for the two Public Service Broadcasting multiplexes operated by the BBC on the Freeview platform, replacing the current low-power transmissions as part of the digital switchover project. The BBC and Arqiva are working towards finalising the contract as soon as possible.
In so doing, the BBC will be able to increase the coverage of its DTT services so that they substantially replicate the coverage of analogue television. These transmission services will become operational during 2008 and will continue until 2031.
At least 10 and potentially a further 160 new transmitters will come into service starting in 2007. This expansion in DAB transmission will make BBC DAB services available to listeners in a number of parts of the UK.
The exact locations of the transmitters are still to be agreed and the BBC hopes to confirm the precise details in due course. The selection of Arqiva follows a rigorous procurement process conducted throughout 2005 and early 2006.
Richard Waghorn, Controller of Distribution at the BBC, said: “This represents one of the major steps in our preparations for digital switchover. “It will mean that everybody who currently receives a good analogue service will receive the BBC’s digital services through their aerial after switchover.
“Subject to finalising our discussions with Arqiva, we hope soon to be able to sign a contract with Arqiva which will also secure true value for money for the future provision of these transmission services.”