UK media regulator Ofcom is to release three blocks of VHF Band III spectrum to fill gaps in local digital radio multiplex coverage. The move will take local Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) to every part of the UK.
Ofcom said it would also release one block of spectrum for a further national commercial multiplex, providing "additional choice for as many listeners as possible". GCap Media, the majority shareholder of existing national commercial multiplex operator Digital One, this summer threatened legal action if Ofcom chose to create a commercial rival.
Ofcom's decision—which is subject to the outcome of the Regional Radio Conference on international spectrum usage in May 2006—follows an extensive consultation which closed last month. Ofcom said it was now seeking views on the licensing process for the new local and national DAB capacity.
Ofcom CEO Stephen Carter said: "Additional capacity allows more radio services to join television and telecoms in the transition to digital. For listeners, this new capacity will mean more choice, more new services and greater coverage."
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