More digital power for London

London will be the first place in the UK to benefit from improvements to the DAB digtial radio transmission system.

Known as the London Update Plan, it will aim to accelerate digital take up by extending coverage into those areas where digital services are currently unavailable as well as increasing the strength of existing digital signals.

The area set to benefit from the initial London phase includes all locations within the M25.

The plan to improve coverage in London has been developed by Arqiva with the support of the BBC, Digital One, Global Radio, Bauer Media and Absolute Radio. The Digital Radio UK upgrade plans are running in parallel with a BBC programme of digital coverage build out which has already seen the corporation increase its number of digital transmitters.

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital radio boasts a host of benefits for listeners and it is our highest priority to ensure those benefits are universally available before digital switchover happens. The development of a plan to boost the signal in London is the beginning of a process which will see us build coverage and deliver a digital signal to everyone across the UK.”

Paul Eaton, Director of Radio, Arqiva, said: “We are working alongside the BBC and Commercial Radio to increase our network of transmitters to build out coverage in those areas of the UK where signal is currently weak or unavailable. Increasing the signal in London is the first step in this process.”

Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio and Music, said: “The BBC built a new DAB transmitter on average every week during 2009, and has committed to building out its DAB coverage to 90 per cent of the population by 2012. We are currently finalising plans to complete the final phase of this build out programme, and we hope to complete coverage improvements in the London area by the end of 2010.”

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive, RadioCentre, said: “Ensuring that digital coverage matches FM is essential if the radio industry is to upgrade to digital. Commercial Radio is delighted to be working alongside the BBC and Arqiva to meet the Government’s criteria for extending digital radio coverage in London, as the first step on a journey to full national build out.”

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