Ofcom makes revisions to DAB technical rules for broadcasters

Ofcom has made revisions to the technical rules that digital radio DAB broadcasters need to follow.

The rules ensure that digital radio signals are transmitted in a uniform way, and do not conflict or interfere with each other, starting today.

Ofcom has made changes to ensure the Technical Codes keep pace with new technology and industry developments, including the needs of future small scale DAB services.

In a consultation which closed on 28 March 2019, the regulator received 28 responses to proposals from industry stakeholders and members of the public.

Some changes to the original proposals have been made in light of the comments received.

In brief, changes are made surrounding ACI/blocking procedures, Spectrum masks for DAB, and dropping the requirements to gain extra permission to broadcast using DAB+.

Ofcom says: “We propose to remove the requirement for broadcasters to obtain prior written permission from Ofcom to adopt DAB+, so as to put the two encoding formats on a more equal footing. We also propose to discontinue the separate 30% DAB+ limit which currently applies to SDL.”

See the full changes here.

Morecambe Bay

Ofcom is also today inviting applications to provide a local radio ‘multiplex’ service, or services, in the Morecambe Bay, North and West Cumbria and Southwest Scotland areas.

Three frequencies are available which can be used to cover part, or all, of the above areas. The number of licences awarded will depend on the applications received, and how they propose to use the available spectrum.

The closing date for applications is 11 September 2019.

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  1. Mr Boltar says

    Whatever happened to L band? That was part of the original DAB spec and was intended for low power local broadcasts and some tests were done in London about 10 years ago. Perhaps use that instead of shoehorning everything into VHF band 3.

    1. mb23 says

      It isn’t available for DAB, Ofcom awarded it to a company called Qualcomm, and they sold it on to Vodafone & Three in 2015.

      1. Mr Boltar says

        I should have guessed. Nice one Ofcom.

      2. Paul M says

        What does this mean: “the separate 30% DAB+ limit which currently applies to SDL”


  2. Michael V says

    True…. The L band is supported by Ford in their cars. When scanning, it goes thru the band before going back around to 5A then up. I thought it was designed/ reserved for DAB+… I really think that should be kept to use. I read an article where it stated each L block was assigned to around Britain. Wales, England, Scot: can’t remember where it was.
    I think it is great that D1 has now been upgraded to support DAB+. The momentum need to keep going. Standards need to be set & updated. Seems ofcom are actually doing something useful, which is rare! Ha!

  3. Willie Bone says

    The discussed L-band for DAB would have been more suitable for today’s minimuxes because higher frequency signal propagation of L-band would have been inferior to signals transmitted on band III. So, L-band would be unsuitable for national, regional or even ILR service coverage!

  4. Dave says

    I think it would be better if all local egsisting DAB multiplex moved over to DAB+ adding more stations first before the role out of small scale DAB.

    1. Willie Bone says

      Dave, Some local DAB multiplexes are full, but some are not in Scotland and England! Stating that, DAB+ will continue to evolve..

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