Ofcom has awarded the license to operate the new local TV ‘multiplex’ on digital terrestrial TV (DTT).
The multiplex operator will be responsible for building and maintaining the technical infrastructure required to broadcast the 19 local TV services currently being licensed by Ofcom. The award follows legislation enabling Ofcom to issue local TV licenses.
The multiplex license is awarded to:
The license has been awarded for a period of 12 years. Ofcom expects that the multiplex operator will set up the required infrastructure so that some local TV channels can be on air before the end of 2013.
A multiplex is a discrete amount of broadcasting capacity on DTT. The multiplex operator is required to cover all of the initial 19 local TV locations and applicants were also asked to propose additional areas to cover. Applicants could select from 44 other such areas, where coverage is technically possible, or make a case for other locations to be added.
Comux, the successful applicant, has proposed to cover up to 28 further locations which are listed below. Ofcom will be seeking expressions of interest from potential operators in these additional locations, as it did before the first phase of licensing, and advertising local licenses later this year.
As well as broadcasting the local TV channels, the multiplex operator can broadcast two additional video streams, which can be leased to other organizations on a quasi-national commercial basis.
In May 2012, Ofcom invited applications to run local TV services in 21 local areas. In total, 57 applications were received to run local TV services in 19 areas, along with four applications for the local multiplex.
In addition to the multiplex license, Ofcom has now awarded 14 local TV licenses and will make further awards in the coming months.
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