The first licences advertised in the third round of Ofcom’s small-scale DAB rollout have been awarded.
Belfast and Lisburn, North Aberdeen and Nottingham’s mini muxes will begin transmitting within the next 18 months after the winning applicants were selected by the regulator.
Ofcom’s decision-makers cited the involvement of four community radio stations – Belfast 89, Blast 106, Juice 1038 and Sunshine 1049 – as one of the reasons for supporting Lagan SSDAB’s application.
But they also said the Belfast and Lisburn multiplex may have to change frequency in future if future developments in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland require the use of the VHF Band III spectrum.
In North Aberdeen, Station House Media Unit was the only applicant to run the SSDAB multiplex.
Ofcom praised the proposed coverage area but commented that discussions between the operator and the service providers were ‘less far advanced than they could be’ and urged SHMU to make further contact.
Ofcom says the company ‘demonstrated a high level of demand’ for the proposed multiplex, with 31 commercial services and 8 community services expressing an interest in DAB carriage in the city.
The other SSDAB Round 3 areas with licences yet to be awarded are: Bedford, Coventry, Darlington and Bishop Auckland, Leicester, Llandudno & Betws-y-Coed, Middlesborough & Redcar, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Rutland and Stamford, Swansea, Swindon and Marlborough, Taunton, Warminster, Devizes and Trowbridge, West Hull, Wetherby and Harrogate, York and Yorkshire Coast.