Ofcom has advertised three new DAB licences in North England and South Scotland 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 will be available which can be used to cover part, or all, of the areas. The number of licences awarded will depend on the applications received, and how the applicants propose to use the available spectrum. The new multiplexes will provide a welcome digital boost for listeners in the areas, with South West Scotland and North Cumbria being among the areas with lowest digital listening in the UK.
Ofcom had originally planned to offer two licences, with North West Cumbria and South West Scotland combined. The regulator reconsidered this approach following feedback from stakeholders to instead advertise the availability of three DAB frequency-blocks which can be used on their own, or in different combinations, to provide DAB coverage across part, or the whole, of the area.
Commenting, the regulator said:
“It will be up to applicants to decide which frequency-block or blocks they wish to use to achieve their desired coverage for their proposed programme service providers. Ofcom will then award a local radio multiplex licence, or licences up to a maximum of three having regard to the criteria in section 51 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, and the available spectrum.”
The closing date for applications is 11 September 2019.
Find out more here.