Ofcom expect to advertise the second national digital radio multiplex licence by the end of the year – they have announced today. The licence will enable DAB transmissions across most of the UK.
However international agreements on frequency use – intended to reduce interference between broadcasts from neighbouring countries – will mean that some coastal areas in south and south-east England as well as Northern Ireland and parts of west Wales will not be able to receive these services, at least initially.
In addition, new local DAB services are intended to fill in the gaps in current local digital radio coverage. The first 12 local radio multiplex licences will be advertised from late 2006. There are currently no spare frequencies suitable for additional DAB local radio services in North Wales, Suffolk and Northern Ireland. Ofcom will continue to explore potential alternative frequencies in these areas in order to extend the choice of digital listening for these communities. After the initial licences have been awarded, Ofcom may seek to enable the addition of further local and regional multiplexes in areas already served by local digital radio.
Click here for the full statement on the Ofcom website.