Digital One has applied to Ofcom to extend the national DAB multiplex to Northern Ireland for the first time.
The mux, which has been on-air for over a decade, has never been available in Northern Ireland but since the Digital Economy Act 2010, it has been entitled to extend the coverage of its licensed area, subject to consultation.
Now Digital One owners have asked to commence the consultation process which would see national stations such as Smooth Radio, Planet Rock, Jazz FM available in the area on terrestrial radio for the first time.
Digital One proposes to provide coverage of Northern Ireland using six transmitters, at each of Divis, Carnmoney Hill, Londonderry, Brougher Mountain, Strabane and Limavady. It says that it will launch all of these transmitters within six months of Ofcom granting its request.
According to Digital One, these transmitters would provide indoor coverage to 74% of households, and 70% of the road network, in Northern Ireland. The addition of this coverage would result in the national radio multiplex service providing coverage of 89.5% of the households in the United Kingdom, and 75% of the UK’s road network.
Before deciding whether to agree to Digital One’s request, Ofcom is legally required to seek representations on the request from any interested parties. This consultation represents that opportunity. The closing-date for representations to be made is 14th March 2013.