BBC to launch 61 new DAB TXs

Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music, has announced a range of measures to support DAB – including the addition of 61 new transmitters.

Coverage will be significantly increased to take the BBC’s in-home coverage to at least 92 percent by mid-2011, improve reception on the UK’s motorway network and match FM within the M25.

Mr Davie outlined the BBC’s actions at the Intellect Consumer Electronics Conference and also spoke about ways to improve the impact of the BBC’s digital portfolio and an increase in marketing spend.

Tim Davie said: "Today's announcements mean that more licence fee payers will have access to the full range of BBC services and enjoy the benefits of digital radio."

The BBC’s new 61 DAB transmitters, which will be installed by the middle of next year will:

– increase the BBC's in-home coverage to at least 92% of the UK population (from approx 85% currently)

– provide good in-car coverage for around 93% of the UK's motorway network (from 83% today)

– include four new transmitters to achieve FM-equivalent coverage level of around 99% population and road coverage within the M25 (from around 89% today).

The BBC will also evaluate ways it may find funding to fill in all of the major gaps in UK motorway coverage to broadly match current FM stereo coverage.

Plans to improve the impact of the BBC's digital radio portfolio include using the proposed relaunch of Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra as an example of how closer links to analogue networks and new editorial ideas could lead to a stronger portfolio.

The expertise of BBC Research & Development will also be offered to work with the sector to tackle technical issues such as aftermarket in-car DAB radios.

Mr Davie also talked about increasing funding in marketing for digital radio platforms such as DAB, DTV and online, which included committing to running at least two large-scale campaigns supporting digital radio each year, increasing as and when switchover approaches and ensuring that digital-only services receive a bigger share of total marketing activity.

Radio Player – which is due to launch later this year as a single online console that will offer all UK radio in one place – was also touched upon with the promise of more details in the coming weeks.

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