Local DAB radio coverage expansion complete

The final two transmitters forming part of the historic local DAB coverage expansion programme have come into operation, with the launch of a new transmitter at Edinburgh Castle serving the Edinburgh multiplex and at Fishguard serving the Mid and West Wales multiplex.

The launch of the two new transmitters completes the transformative initiative to expand the UK’s local DAB transmission network towards FM equivalence, which was announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2015 and jointly funded by the DCMS, BBC and local DAB multiplex operators.

The programme of work, which was delivered by Arqiva, has doubled the local DAB network, with new transmitters or modifications to 221 local DAB sites, boosting local DAB coverage from 72% to more than 90% of UK households. Across the UK, an additional 10 million listeners have been brought into coverage, and over 4,000 miles of roads previously not served by local DAB services are now also covered.

Margot James MP, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “The completion of the local DAB expansion programme is a tremendous milestone for the UK radio industry’s transition to digital. This, along with the unprecedented choice of stations available on DAB, both nationally and locally, will see listeners continue to embrace the benefits of digital radio.”

Ford Ennals, CEO Digital Radio UK, said: “The local DAB coverage expansion has been a hugely significant step in the UK's digital transition, transforming the availability of local stations on DAB digital radio across the county. Great credit is due to the broadcasters, multiplex operators, DCMS, Ofcom and Arqiva for making it happen.”

Richard Johnston, Head of Commercial Radio, Arqiva, said: “Arqiva has been extremely busy building hundreds of additional local DAB transmitters across the UK to bring DAB digital radio into millions more homes and thousands of miles of the road network. We are proud of our role in delivering the infrastructure needed for a vibrant digital radio market and are delighted to now complete the expansion of local DAB coverage.”

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  1. Willie Bone says

    I wonder if the next phase of the local DAB expansion plan will ever be realised?
    The planned ‘step 2’ expansion plan was to be invoked for local DAB after a digital radio switchover announcement, now postponed indefinitely!
    Scotland’s highlands and islands, along with Cumbria, south of the border, have no local DAB multiplexes. Some areas have Independednt Local Radio and BBC Radio Scotland opt outs which may never be carried on DAB/DAB+!

  2. Steve says

    Still nothing in carlisle Just d1 and BBC no local not even d2 all we get is mono from d1

  3. Nigel Peacock says

    Cumbria is a prime example of lack of DAB coverage. No local DAB. In fact, only BBC and national digital 1, no national digital 2. BBC Cumbria is the only BBC service in the UK with no DAB of any sort.

    Cumbria would be too expensive to cover with local DAB, due to the topography, with 70/100 of the highest points in England.

    The only local DAB likely in the county, is going to be small scale DAB for specific towns. That is, if SSDAB ever actually happens . . .

  4. Eamonn says

    Don’t feel left out I live in Northampton and the coverage is awful.

  5. Andrew Hayward says

    Local DAB to reach FM equivalence, In some areas Yes ie Cornwall and Gloucestershire (not the Forrest of Dean though) but in some counties local DAB is a mess, Devon is divided into three areas making it far from easy is you want to stay tuned to local DAB on the move. Wiltshire, despite the frequency move to 10d is left with No Local DAB in the South and Eastern side of the county including the City of Salisbury, that’s 80000 people!! I have an Arqiva published map showing this area being served by the end of 2016, I wonder what happened and why transmitters were not built.

  6. Graham Welford says

    Still no local DAB in Whitby, Yorks.

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