The second national radio multiplex licence has been advertised today by Ofcom. This is the first of many digital licences to be made available over the coming months. Closing date is 28th March 2007, with an application fee of 50 thousand pounds required.
The multiplex licence will allow the broadcast of a number of radio services as well as the delivery of other services including mobile television channels. This represents the first step in Ofcom’s DAB licensing programme intended to lead to a significant expansion in both local and national digital radio services over the next three years.
The licence award will be made under the Broadcasting Act 1996 which requires Ofcom to consider how each applicant would promote the development of DAB radio in the UK.
The frequency for this licence is available initially in the UK and the Isle of Man. The exact coverage of these new services will be determined by the location of the successful applicant’s transmission sites and other technical characteristics. International agreements on frequency use – intended to reduce interference between broadcasts from France, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland and broadcasts from the UK – will mean that, at least initially, some coastal areas in southern and south-eastern England, as well as parts of Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of west Wales, will not be able to receive these services.
The licence will be issued for a twelve-year period. The Government is currently considering whether radio multiplex licences granted after 1 October 2006 should be eligible for renewal when they expire and intends to announce its decision on this matter shortly.