The BBC and Arqiva have reached an agreement for the next stage of its digital developments. The deal includes new high-power digital terrestrial television and additional transmitters to expand the coverage of the BBC's DAB digital radio network, with the possibility of up to a further 160 new DAB transmitters being ordered in the coming years.
The new high-power digital terrestrial television (DTT) network will replace both the BBC's analogue television networks and the current low-power DTT network. The deal is expected to be worth, taking into account inflation, in excess of £1.8bn over the contract period.
Under the terms of the contract, the new DTT services will be introduced on a region-by-region basis between 2008 and 2012 and the service will continue to be delivered by Arqiva until 2031 (2023 for DAB).
The BBC's two public-service multiplexes will be broadcast from all 1154 existing transmitter sites, delivering digital TV to 98.5 per cent of the population via rooftop aerials. Richard Waghorn, Controller of Distribution at the BBC, said: "We are delighted to take this next step in the process of Digital Switch Over. The delivery of high-power digital signals to the whole country is crucial if the BBC is to help deliver a fully digital UK."
Steve Holebrook, Arqiva's Managing Director, Terrestrial Media Solutions, added: "Digital Switch Over is a complex and challenging task and we are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by the BBC to deliver their future television broadcast network. We have a long history in broadcast transmission and we're proud that we'll be playing such a major role supporting the BBC in the future."